His friends said they don't know how this could have happened to someone whose smile once brightened a room.
"He never was somebody who got into trouble or talked badly about people he loved people to hear that he was murdered it is very difficult," said Barbasa.
Friends struggling to cope with the sudden loss set up a memorial where Khamvongsa died.
While at home, those who looked up to him are carrying on his message to them.
"To live your dreams and go out there, break a leg and I hope that I can do what he could do," Cagadas said as he fought back emotions.
Khamvongsa planned to return to the islands this weekend to celebrate his brother's high school graduation but instead his family is planning his funeral.