QUARTZ HILL (CBSLA) — A 10-year-old boy who was allegedly tortured to death by his mother and her boyfriend was remembered Friday as a superhero to his own friends.

In the days after the death of Anthony Avalos, his uncle David Barron says his classmates reached out to the family and said he would speak up for them when they were being bullied, and that he would also stand up for his siblings at home.

So in honor of Anthony’s bravery, in spite of what he was going through himself, his friends and family requested a special dress code for mourners.

“We would like if everyone can wear superhero shirts, in honor of Anthony,” a funeral notice from the family said.

Anthony was found unresponsive in his mother’s home June 20. He died the next day.

In court filings, prosecutors alleged Anthony was severely tortured during the last five or six days of his life and that his mother and her boyfriend “abused, beat, assaulted and tortured Anthony Avalos.”

The alleged abuse included whipping the boy with a belt and a looped cord, pouring hot sauce on his face and mouth, holding him by his feet and dropping him on his head repeatedly.

“He was just full of laughter, the biggest smile ever,” his aunt Maria Barron said tearfully outside the church where Anthony’s service was held. “You couldn’t even tell what he was going through.”

Anthony’s mother, Heather Barron, 28, and her boyfriend, Kareem Leiva, 32, have been charged with murder and torture in the boy’s death.

A county official said earlier that the boy had come out as gay in the weeks before his death, and authorities were trying to determine if homophobia may have played a role in his death.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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