Joel Gauthier's family is remembering an active, engaged teenager who died a few weeks short of his 19th birthday.

The Rockland native and avid cyclist was biking through Ottawa's Vincent Massey Park Friday when he was struck by lightning, passing away the next day.

"We butted heads quite a bit, but I'll miss when he would take his mother and I in great big hugs and say 'mummy, daddy,'" said his father, Pierre Gauthier.

"He was so young at 18, still had a life ahead of him," said his cousin Matthieu Gauthier. "We have to stay strong for him."

His family said Gauthier also loved to ski and play football.

He was diagnosed with Crohn's disease and started a support group at Carleton University, where he was an electrical engineering student.

"It was started just for people to get together and talk about it," said Pierre.

"He was there for anyone, always with great advice, always supportive," said Mathieu. "He always had a smile on his face, and that was contagious."

Family gathered at a memorial for the teenager on Wednesday night before his funeral the next day.

"I'll miss him, the constant teasing with him and his sister," said Pierre. "They were best buds."

"He was the best cousin I ever had, and like a brother," Mathieu said.

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Claudia Cautillo