DAVIS, Calif. (KTXL) — The UC Davis community is dealing with the devastating loss as one of their beloved medical students, veteran Josh Crane, was recovered from the American River this weekend.

Crane had jumped in to save two people, but he never made it out alive.

“He loved life and he loved to help people,” Jessica Crane, his sister, said. “We grew up tough as nails, throwing bookshelves on each other.”

Josh Crane lived life on his terms, and Hailey Wiley, his girlfriend, said not to let his appearance fool you.

“He was kind of silly and dorky, but you wouldn’t expect it because it was kind of big and intimidating looking. But he was the biggest dork,” Wiley said.

They met a few years ago, through the joy of working out, as both are into bodybuilding.

“He touched a lot of lives without even trying and that is just the type of person he is,” Wiley said.

Josh Crane had a soft spot for people, especially his two nephews.

“He loved them more than life itself,” Jessica Crane said.

Jessica Crane, his younger sister, adds he was generous and always willing to help others. Josh Crane jumped into the American River on Friday when he heard two people asking for help.

Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District told FOX40 the two people asking for help eventually got out of the water, but Josh Crane did not.

“I guarantee you his only thought was I have to help these people and that is what he lived and served to do,” Jessica Crane said.

The Navy veteran and UC Davis medical student was in his fourth year. His family says he took first-year students to the river as a way of paying it forward.

“He was almost done, and he wanted to become a mentor to some of the kids and give back in a way some other kids have given to him,” Jessica Crane said.

He always wanted to help, like when he thanked families two years ago who donated their loved one’s body to the medical school.

“Your family has given us an irreplaceable opportunity to experience our medical school education in the most profound and personal way possible,” Josh Crane said in a video.

He also volunteered at an orphanage in Okinawa, Japan.

“Every Christmas, he would say, ‘Hey sis, can you gather up donations, books or whatever for these kids. Bring me what you got,’” Jessica Crane recalled. “We would send stuff out to him, and write letters and tell me how much these kids appreciated that had nothing.”

Family said his love had no boundaries, and he was a calm, generous, dorky and devoted individual who is gone too soon.

“It filled my heart so much that so many people loved him because he’s my hero in every aspect of the word. He’s my absolute hero,” Jessica Crane told FOX40. “He is my best friend. I’m sorry I couldn’t be there to save him and I’m sorry everything that he felt. I’m so thankful, and I’m full of so much pride that he’s my big brother.”

The medical school is looking to celebrate his life soon at a memorial service.

“We are deeply saddened by the recent passing of Joshua Crane, one of our MS4s, in a tragic American River accident. Our thoughts are with his family & loved ones as we support each other through this heartbreaking loss. He was an extraordinary young man devoted to helping others,” UC Davis Medical School said.

A GoFundMe page was started to help the Crane family.