For Brandon Howard, there was no contradiction between his career goals of becoming a doctor and a rap music star. He was serious about both.
"My life's so amazin'," sang the 20-year-old University of Central Florida junior from Weston in one of his latest music videos.
That life ended this weekend when Howard was struck by a taxi cab as he walked in the roadway that borders the northern edge of the UCF campus, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Howard was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center, where he died of his injuries, said FHP trooper Wanda Diaz.
Howard's death stunned his family and many fans who knew him as the budding rapper A.T. – Always True.
"It is astonishing the number of people he inspired," said his father, Daren Howard. "He was always positive."
Howard wanted to be a physician from an early age, according to his family. Once he started college, he visited several South Florida doctors to investigate various specialties.
He decided on being an emergency room physician.
This summer, Howard took organic chemistry, a tough course required of pre-med students, at Florida International University "just to get it out of the way," said his grandfather Nathan Leder. "He was a hard worker."
A 2010 graduate of Cypress Bay High School , Howard was also passionate about music, picking up piano and guitar from his father, who helped produce some of his son's recordings.
Howard financed his music videos, which were posted on his Facebook page, by working as a busboy at Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza in Weston, said Leder.
"I mean, obviously I hope my music will eventually 'blow up' and get a lot of attention, but if not, I'll stay humble," Howard said in a recent interview with KnightNews.com, a student news service. "I'm just doing what I want to do with my music and if people like it, great."
Howard returned to UCF for his third year Thursday, his family said. He went out with friends Friday night, but apparently was walking home alone.
According to the FHP, Howard was in the eastbound lane of McCulloch Road at Orion Boulevard when he was hit at 1:45 a.m. Saturday by a taxi driven by Michael Sullivan, 52.
Sullivan told police he swerved to the right but was unable to avoid hitting the pedestrian.
Sullivan and three passengers in the cab were uninjured, said FHP.
In addition to his father and grandfather, Howard is survived by his mother, Cynthia, and two brothers, Drew, 17, and Sam, 14.
A memorial service is set for Wednesday at noon at Star of David funeral home, 7801 Bailey Road, North Lauderdale.
Staff researcher Barbara Hijek contributed to this report.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
One person will win a three-year lease on a 2013 Honda Civic Lx Sedan automatic.
Click to see the latest mugshots, plus this week's wanted fugitives.
This feature packed upgrade brings you faster performance, easier navigation, and stunning improvements to photos, video and readability.
Latest News Stories
Donations may be falling short as thousands of graves could go without a wreath decorating their headstones ahead of the holidays in Arlington National Cemetery.