Tributes have poured in for 20-year-old JeanPaul Sofia, the victim of a building collapse in Corradino, described by friends as always going out of his way to make them smile and laugh.

JeanPaul was on Sunday remembered as an amazing friend with a “heart of gold”, with many friends recalling how he always had a smile on his face. 

Sian Demicoli said the two lived on the same street when they were younger, and would play together after school. 

“As we got older we kept in touch and used to go out every weekend,” he told Times of Malta. 

“He was an amazing friend, you never saw him sad, and he used to smile and laugh all the time. Even when he saw us sad, he would try and make us forget and put a smile on our faces.”

Sofia's social media showed he was fond of cars, and Demicoli recalled how sometimes they would go to Hal Far to watch car races.

Following a 14-hour intense search and rescue for JeanPaul, his body was recovered by rescuers at around 2am on Sunday morning. 

Five other workers were pulled out from the rubble alive soon after the building came down on Saturday. Three of the hospitalised workers are Albanian, one is Bosnian and one is Maltese.

A police spokesperson said that two of the men are still in criticial condition.

'Loved his friends dearly'

A former student at St.Aloysius College, the rector recalled JeanPaul as a dedicated student.

“He was a quiet and well-behaved student, always with a smile on his face,” the college rector Fr Jimmy Bartolo said. 

“He left our school four years ago, and I remember that he loved his friends dearly.”

His former graphical communication teacher described him as “kind and cheerful”.

“He was a respectful and grateful student too. I remember how fond he was towards his family as he used to mention them during lessons.”

Another friend, Desireè, said JeanPaul had a “heart of gold” and that he would always try to put a smile on her face. 

“There is nothing more I can say, as there are not enough words to describe how much we will miss you.”

The Maltese Olympic Committee (MOC) also paid tribute to Sofia and his family on social media. His father, Hon was part of the MOC team for nearly 20 years, according to the post. 

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