MONTREAL — Friends and family of a Montreal lawyer who died in a plane crash in Italy are remembering him for his career success, his passion for politics and his love of the outdoors.
Julien Brossard, 35, was one of eight people who died when a private plane crashed in Milan on Sunday, killing all aboard.
His father, Michel Brossard, said his son was accomplished in business and had a passion for Canadian politics.
"He was on top of the world and that was all taken away," Brossard said in an interview Tuesday. "But I can't be unhappy for him. I am happy for him; I have to just be strong enough to continue on those values for a great man."
Julien Brossard, who graduated from a combined MBA and law program at Université de Sherbrooke, was a vice-president at insurance company Liberty Mutual in Montreal.
His father said Brossard had a deep knowledge of Canadian constitutional law and politics. "Whenever I would talk politics with Julien, I had to be very well prepared," Brossard said.
While he said his son was very liberal, Brossard said he was always open to listening to other opinions.
Julien Brossard was travelling to the Italian island of Sardinia with his partner, Dan Stefan Petrescu, who also died in the crash. The two had met while Petrescu was pursuing his doctoral studies at McGill University.
Michel Brossard described Petrescu as a "gentle, exceptional man" who impressed his son with his intelligence.
Petrescu's father, Dan Petrescu, a Romanian billionaire, was flying the plane when it went down.
Brossard said Petrescu was an accomplished pilot. He said he was in contact with authorities in Italy and he wanted to receive his son's death certificate but was less concerned about the results of the investigation into the crash.
"Whatever the actual cause of that mechanical failure is, my son is gone," he said. "It doesn't give me anything."
Marwah Rizqy, a Liberal member of the Quebec legislature, remembered Brossard as an extraordinary friend who never spoke ill of anyone and who gave his friends an education on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and on Quebec history.
Rizqy, who met Brossard at Université de Sherbrooke, said he took time off work to manage her campaign for elected office in 2018 and was her best man at her wedding in September.
"He's my best friend, he's my psychologist, he's my adviser," she said in an interview Tuesday. "It's with him I had the biggest laughs in my life; he was the one who always cauterized my wounds."
Simon Léger, a friend of Brossard's since childhood, said Brossard loved the outdoors and that every weekend he tried to find new places for activities including skiing, biking and jogging. Léger described Brossard as someone who valued justice, equality, inclusion and respect.
"His sensitivity and empathy, even for people far from him, were legendary," Léger wrote in a text message Tuesday.
Rob Marsh, president of Liberty Mutual Canada, expressed his condolences to Brossard's family and friends in an emailed statement.
“We are devastated to learn of the tragedy involving our beloved colleague, Julien," Marsh said. "He was a cherished friend and leader within our Liberty family who greatly touched our lives. We are heartbroken over this shocking loss.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 5, 2021.
— With files from The Associated Press.
This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.
Jacob Serebrin, The Canadian Press