Family and friends gathered together in Prescott, Arizona for a candlelit vigil for Kayla Mueller, the U.S. aid worker who died while being held by Islamic State militants in Syria.
The event, appropriately named “Remembering Kayla: A community candlelight memorial,” was held in her hometown on Wednesday, and was organized by local churches and community groups.
Mueller’s brother, Eric Mueller, shared a heartfelt poem and encouraged the crowd to live as the person he called his first friend, best friend and sister did – reaching out to those who are suffering and give them a hug.
“You were my first friend, my best friend, my only sister. My heart aches for you and what you went through. I have a hole in my soul that will never be replaced. I miss you. I love you. I cannot believe you are gone from my life,” Eric Mueller said at the vigil.
“May God keep you from any more harm, any more hurt,” Eric Mueller said to his sister. “You are in his hands now. You do not have to suffer anymore. Only now will you be able to see how much you did and truly did for this world by looking down on it from above,” he added.
His father, Carl Mueller, met him at the bottom of the stage to give him a hug.
Mueller’s parents did not speak with press, but they stuck around afterwards and embraced friends.
Kayla Mueller, 26, was abducted in 2013 while leaving a hospital run by the Spanish branch of Doctors without Borders in Aleppo, in northern Syria. Her death was confirmed February 10, although details of how and when she died remain unclear.
Before her abduction, Mueller worked for a Turkish relief agency on the Syrian border, first traveling there in 2012. She previously volunteered for schools and relief groups elsewhere in the Mideast as well as India.
Mueller was the last-known American hostage held by Islamic State, which controls wide areas of Syria and Iraq, the Voice of America reported.
Kayla Mueller’s Brother Shares Heartfelt Poem at Candlelit Vigil