‘Losing him was like losing a limb’: Friends, family remember UF student killed in car crash

Friends and family want to bring awareness to motor safety following the 20-year-old’s death

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Amin Taghikhani
UF student Amin Taghikhani died Oct. 8 following a motorcycle crash on Oct. 4. A memorial service hosted by his family will take place Nov. 3 at the Baugham Center. 

To those who knew him, going to the library on the Friday night of UF Homecoming wasn’t unusual for Amin Taghikhani.

Friends and family say he was one of the smartest students they knew. Taghikhani was on his way to study for an organic chemistry test scheduled the following week. He planned to attend medical school after his Spring 2020 graduation.

He never made it to the library that night. 

After a four-day coma, Taghikhani died Oct. 8 after being taken off life support. He was rushed to UF Health Shands Hospital, suffering blunt-force trauma after a motorcycle crash Oct. 4. He was not wearing a helmet.

Oct. 8 was also his 20th birthday. 

Taghikhani’s family is planning a memorial service for him Sunday at 2 p.m. in Gainesville’s Baughman Center, at 982 Museum Road.

To Nickou Memari, who grew up with Taghikhani in Broward County, Florida, it seemed like his friend vanished into thin air. 

Memari, a 19-year-old UF international studies senior, said it felt as if Taghikhani was forgotten after his family and friends did not receive any information for days about the crash from Gainesville Police.

“Losing him was like losing a limb that I didn’t know I needed,” she said. “You don’t know that all your friends play such an important role in your life.”

Despite being heartbroken over his sudden death, Memari knew there was some silver lining in the tragedy. Memari and Taghikhani’s mother, Masoumeh Manshadi, want to use his death as a cautionary tale for students. The two want to hold UF accountable to uphold motor safety in Gainesville.

“There’s students everywhere in this city and nobody has a helmet,” Manshadi said. “It hurts my heart when I see the kids like that.”

His mother remembers a chubby child with a mop of curly black hair on his head. As a child, he would help her pick flowers in their backyard and give them to her. He eventually drew flowers on paper and would hand them to his mother every week. 

“I’m satisfied with him because he gave me a lot of love and attention,” Manshadi said. “I am so thankful for that.”

Majid Taghikhani, his father, said as his son grew up, he became his mirror image. 

His friends all said he was a seemingly quiet guy when you first met him. To those Taghikhani knew deeply however, all barriers went away. He was a loyal companion. 

“When he chose somebody as a friend, it was like a commitment for him,” she said. “He never let them go.”

Hannah Ahmadi, a 16-year-old high school student, Facetimed Taghikhani two hours before the fatal crash. It was part of their daily routine, she said. 

From sunrise to sunset, she and Taghikhani would talk about everything and anything. 

Their latest conversation? The duo’s birthday plans. 

They were planning on going out to dinner to celebrate. Ahmadi said she had already bought him two gifts:  a small wallet and a bottle of Bleu De Chanel. She said he always smelled nice, but this was Ahmadi’s favorite cologne. 

She never got to give the bottle to him. 

Despite the death coming as a shock to friends and family, many still talk as if he is listening. 

Ahmadi, said Amin Taghikhani was in her life since childhood and he will continue to be in her life until the day she dies. She’s visited his grave in South Florida often since his funeral on Oct. 12.

“The fact that he would put up with me every single day for hours is just amazing. He should win an award for that,” Ahmadi said. “It just gives me some sort of comfort.”