Younes Hartout, center, was photographed in Costa Rica as he explored with his friends Marouane Missbah el Idrissi, at left, and Mohamed Chouiki, at right.
Younes Hartout, center, was photographed in Costa Rica as he explored with his friends Marouane Missbah el Idrissi, at left, and Mohamed Chouiki, at right.Handout

A UMass Lowell student who died after a car crash last week in Costa Rica is being remembered as a generous friend, devoted son and brother, and devout Muslim.

Younes Hartout, 24, of Revere, was on a winter-break vacation with two friends, UMass Lowell classmate Mohamed Chouiki and recent Wentworth Institute of Technology graduate Marouane Missbah el Idrissi.

The three were traveling in a compact Hyundai when it collided with a bus just after 4 p.m. Wednesday, according to CRHoy, a Costa Rican media outlet.

Missbah el Idrissi, 22, of Malden, said in an interview Monday that he remembers little of the collision.


“When I woke up, it was just me and Mohamed. I saw him next to me, and he was in pain. . . . I didn’t see Younes anywhere, so I asked for him,” he said. Paramedics said they were trying to help his friend, but later, as he was put into an ambulance, “They finally told me he didn’t make it.”

Missbah el Idrissi had a broken nose and bruises, and two of his injuries required stitches, but he expects to make a full recovery. Chouiki sustained a head injury and remains hospitalized in Costa Rica, under doctors’ orders not to fly.

The three became friends while volunteering in a Friday night mentoring program for middle school and high school students at the Al-Huda Society in Chelsea, where Hartout and his three younger sisters took weekend classes in Arabic and Islam when they were younger, according to Mohamed Lamaallem, the organization’s executive director.

Hartout’s eldest sister, Chaimae Hartout, 22, said Monday that she was in shock and her mother, Fatiha, was “dealing with it day by day.” Her father, Hamid, spoke to Younes shortly before the crash about his plans for the beach, she said, and Younes told him not to worry.


Younes was older by little more than a year, she said, but he treated her and their sisters “like a second father,” she said. “And he would be a mother when he needed to, a best friend.”

“He always used to tell me, ‘I want my siblings to be better than me,’ ” she said, speaking by phone from the family’s apartment, where dozens of his friends had gathered.

Hartout will be remembered Tuesday in a prayer service at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center in Roxbury, after the daily Dhurh prayer at noon, according to a statement from Al-Marhama Islamic Burial Services.

He will be buried in The Gardens at Gethsemane Cemetery in West Roxbury, followed by a gathering at the Al-Huda Society, according to Al-Marhama.

By Monday evening, a GoFundMe page raising money for Hartout’s burial and Chouiki’s medical expenses had garnered nearly $86,000, exceeding its goal 0f $75,000. Another GoFundMe page for Hartout’s family had raised more than $14,000 against a goal of $10,000.

Hartout played soccer at Revere High School, where he was a team captain, and went on to play for Fitchburg State University, where he studied for two years before later enrolling at UMass Lowell.

In 2013, Hartout spoke to the Globe for an article on the Revere High soccer team, praising a novel defense strategy devised by his coach.

“It’s a good way to play,” Hartout said of the structure. “We’ve never done this defense with the two stoppers and the sweeper. I think it helps out a lot because you get extra help on each side.”


Fitchburg State Men’s Soccer remembered Hartout in a Twitter post on Thursday, writing that Hartout “was a very much loved member of our Falcon Family.”

In a statement, Fitchburg State said he had attended the university “for two years during which he was an accomplished scholar and a valued member of our men’s soccer team. Our university community mourns his untimely passing and expresses our condolences to all who knew him.”

Hartout later transferred to UMass Lowell, which also issued a statement. The university community’s thoughts are with the family and friends of Younes Hartout and we are working to provide support during this difficult time,” UMass Lowell said.

Even greater than Hartout’s love of soccer was his devotion to Islam, friends said.

“He was always just craving to learn more and more about his spirituality,” said Ahmad Hamssa, 24, of Hyde Park,

Hamssa said Hartout was an enthusiastic giver of bear hugs, a natural leader, a born mediator who always wanted to settle arguments amicably, and “just a really intelligent kid, too. He was really dedicated to his studies.”

George Sanchez, 23, of Revere, said Hartout’s faith changed his life.

Several years ago, when Sanchez was questioning his beliefs as a Jehovah’s Witness, Hartout casually gave him a Koran but said little about it. About two years later, Sanchez began reading the text in earnest, and later he converted to Islam.


“This guy honestly made me the best person I could possibly be,” Sanchez said, echoing several friends who spoke of Hartout with admiration.

“He cared for everyone — everyone and everything — whether it was a cat, or a bird, or his mom, or the neighbor next door,” said Hiba Fares, 21, of Revere.

“The second I met him, it was all love. I could tell that he was this wildly radiant person,” said Adhaam Mahmoud, 25, of Chelsea.

“Whenever I’m down, he brings me up. Always puts a smile on my face,” said Yassine Kaddoum, 20, of Malden.

On his final adventure in Costa Rica, Missbah el Idrissi said, Hartout made many new friends.

“Everywhere we went, with our tour guides, with our roommates, he was able to instantly connect with them,” he said.

Chaimae Hartout recalled an earlier adventure: a trip she and her brother took to Iceland last year.

“It was just me and him taking long road trips together,” she said. “Even though I thought I knew him before, during that road trip he would tell me things he never shared with me. . . . I got to know him better and he got to know me better.”

Ahmed Ahmed, 26, of Revere, said Hartout’s friends want to memorialize him by building a well in Morocco, his parents’ native land, that can provide clean drinking water in an area where it’s badly needed.


On Friday, the Al-Huda Society hosted a memorial for Hartout, who was the linchpin of several circles of friends, “the glue for whatever group he’s part of,” Lamaallem said.

“He had a skill that lot of people don’t have. He had something that made people love him,” Lamaallem said. “Anyone who had the chance to be around him loved him for his kindness, for his gentleness, for his quietness.”

Younes Hartout and his mother, Fatiha.
Younes Hartout and his mother, Fatiha. Family photo

Globe correspondent Maysoon Khan contributed to this report. Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.