Beloved Bergen County native Paul Zito III died suddenly on June 22 in Australia.
A Paramus Catholic graduate and father, Zito lived in Garfield and Fair Lawn before moving to Queensland, Australia where he had been working in landscaping.
More than $20,000 had been raised on a GoFundMe as of Monday afternoon. The funds will help return Zito's body to the U.S. for a funeral.
Arrangements have not yet been scheduled.
He had a heart of gold and will be sadly missed by all who knew him.
Affectionately known as "Paulie," the news of his unexpected passing left friends, family and acquaintances heartbroken.
"You left powerful and inspirational imprints on our hearts. Protect your children and family," Andrea Mason said on the GoFundMe.
"Ohana means family, nobody gets left behind or forgotten...yeah♡"
"Paul helped so many people here in Bundaberg," Trish Mears said. "He had a heart of gold and will be sadly missed by all who knew him."
"You were my big support, someone I turned to for advice, to feel better, help me through my sleepless nights, which were your days, and share good news," Dana Kloza added.
"We knew each other practically all our lives, but I was lucky enough to consider you my very good friend these last few years. I'll miss your 'cheeky' texts, your witty humor, amazing drawings, pics of palms, beautiful Australian beaches, our many convos, and much more."
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