Hundreds gather in Saugus to remember victim of fatal shark attack

SAUGUS — Arthur Gava Medici, who was killed in a shark attack on Cape Cod, was remembered at his funeral Wednesday night at a Methodist church for his charisma, faith, and laugh.

“His laugh could be heard across the room,” said Cleverson Rocha, his pastor and prospective father-in-law. “Now, we miss him.”

Medici, 26, a native of Brazil who lived in Revere, was the fiance of Rocha’s daughter, Emily, 23.

In a statement, Emily Rocha called Medici “a man of courage and love, selfless, and with a heart of gold.” He loved sports, singing, and playing the guitar. He also loved his family and to make “everyone around him laugh,” she said.

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Medici died Saturday after he was attacked by a shark while boogie boarding off Newcomb Hallow Beach in Wellfleet. It was the first fatal shark attack in Massachusetts since 1936.

More than 300 people filled Family United Methodist Church-Brazilian Ministry for his funeral service that was said in Portuguese, but translated into English. A violin and cello played at the start of the 7:15 p.m. service.

Sandra Muniz and Francisco Pinto, both from Woburn, worked with Medici at The Capital Grille in Burlington for many years. Standing outside before the service, they remembered how Medici would break into song and dance at work.

“We used to sing together,” Muniz said. “All the time, [he was] up and making people laugh.”

“Always dancing. Music was his thing,” Pinto added. “He was a happy guy.”

Cleverson Rocha said he loved Medici like a son. His 16-year-old son, Isaac, was with Medici when he was attacked.

Medici was from Vitoria, Espírito Santo, Brazil, and studied civil engineering at Universidade Vila Velha before moving to Revere in 2014. He studied engineering at Bunker Hill Community College, according to his obituary.

Medici was a member of Maranatha Christian Church in Revere, where Cleverson Rocha is the pastor. The service was held in the Saugus church to allow for a large crowd, a friend said.

When Medici first began attending Rocha’s church, he didn’t know his faith well, Rocha said.

Over time, though, he became more involved and committed.

“It was a great transformation in his life,” Rocha said. “He was servant of the lord . . . I am thankful for the short time God gave him to me as a son.”

Last July, Medici chose to be baptized, Emily Rocha said in her statement. “He had just begun his walk with the Lord and yet he already understood things that to this day I am still learning.”

The family would have Medici over for dinner regularly. “In our house, there were six chairs. Now, there is one that is empty,” Cleverson Rocha said.

Jackson Cote can be reached at

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