Zack Noureddine, Toronto robbery victim, did not die 'in vain,' says Ottawa family

The Ottawa family of Zaher 'Zack' Noureddine says the 25-year-old decided to become an organ donor one month before the music journalist died in an altercation in Toronto's midtown area on Dec. 30, 2015.

25-year-old music journalist decided to donate organs shortly before Dec. 30 death

Noureddine remembered

7 years ago
Duration 2:01
Zack Noureddine's family remembers the life of the slain music journalist.

Zaher "Zack" Noureddine decided to become an organ donor just one month before he was killed on Wednesday shortly after leaving a bar on Yonge Street in midtown Toronto.

Six people will have a chance at a better life thanks to that decision, Noureddine's father said in an interview with CBC News days after the up-and-coming music journalist was attacked in what police have called a "brazen" robbery.

"He did not [die] in vain," Hassan Noureddine said Saturday from the family's Ottawa home. "Still, we need to have answers why this all happened."​

Shortly after midnight, the group that Noureddine was with ended up in an altercation with another group. Noureddine, 25, was killed in an ensuing violent robbery, Toronto police said.

Music journalist and photographer Zaher "Zack" Noureddine was killed on Dec. 30 outside a Yonge Street restaurant in Toronto. (Facebook)

"We were expecting him to call us. I texted him, my wife texted him, because he always calls at the end of the day when he finishes work," Hassan Noureddine said Satuday.

Instead, at around 2 a.m., the family got a call from the hospital, saying that their son had been seriously injured and was in a coma.

Toronto police told CBC Saturday that they were still searching for three suspects who were wearing dark-coloured clothing and who had fled the area in a light-coloured four-door sedan.

Although no official cause of death has been released, Noureddine's family told CBC News he had suffered a blow to the back of his head near his spinal cord and died from bleeding in his brain.

He was kept on life-support at a Toronto hospital until his family could arrive from Ottawa.

Doctors were able to find recipients for his liver, kidneys, and other organs, Hassan Noureddine said Saturday.

Hassan Noureddine says his son decided to donate his organs shortly before his death. (CBC Ottawa)

Born in Montreal, Noureddine grew up in Ottawa and had studied journalism at Algonquin College there before moving to Toronto in 2014.

Noureddine was gaining a reputation as a music journalist and photographer after his work appeared in publications like online magazine HipHopCanada.

He had interviewed and photographed a number of high-profile artists, including multiple 2015 Grammy-nominee Kendrick Lamar. He had also done freelance photojournalism in Lebanon, where the family is originally from and where his mother was a journalist.

Noureddine was also planning to launch his own business before he died, his family said.

After his death, his youngest brother Russell Noureddine left a heartfelt message on Twitter for a brother who "never played by the rules."

"He was always someone who always created his own path. He never took the path someone else took. He always wanted to make his own success story," he told CBC News on Saturday.

"I think that was something that was really special. It made him different from everybody else. It made him unique, and that's why everybody loved him.

Noureddine's funeral is scheduled for Monday morning in Ottawa. 

"It was a short life," said Russell Noureddine. "But it was an awesome life."