REDONDO BEACH (CBSLA.com) — Hearts are heavy for the family of high school basketball standout Ryse Williams.

He died Thursday, one day before he was to graduate from Redondo Union High School.

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Williams only learned he had cancer a week ago.

CBS2’s Greg Mills says friends and family are understandably stunned and saddened.

Friday night, they offered up a heartfelt tribute for their kin and classmate.

The graduating class of 600 had an emotional ceremony mourning the beloved classmate and trying to enjoy their own achievement.

“I heard the news, and it was really sad,” said. classmate Mateo Hamm.

Williams sister picked up his diploma after the principal recounted to the audience what a great young man Williams was.

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“All the way around … just a stellar human being,” said Lisa Cyrus, Williams’ aunt.

He was basketball star but his grandmother said she liked hearing about his other qualities that also stood out.

“They acknowledged what a basketball star he was here,” Marilyn Ragsdale said, “but he never acted like one. He stayed humble — he did not think he was above people, That’s why people were so drawn to him.”

Williams was not able to see his graduation day. But his family was there for him.

He spent the past few weeks in the hospital and went down quickly after his diagnosis.

His family had request for his friends and classmates.

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“They were telling us even though one of our classmates passed away, his family told us, we should still enjoy this day,” said Cartier Jarveaux.