A man pulled from the Schuylkill River in Reading was an excellent swimmer, according to friends and family. 

Dive crews found 55 year-old Rafael DeJesus-Pagan's body around 10:30 p.m. Friday near the Bingaman Street Bridge.

"I was walking across the bridge; I was looking over and I saw the body in the water," said Emmanuel Starks, who called authorities.  "It was face down, and I thought it was a shirt on.  He didn't have a shirt on."

To Jesus Hernandez, Pagan was like a second father.

"That was my best friend and everything, and he died," said Hernandez through tears.

At Pagan's home on Cotton Street, Hernandez and other friends remembered the man they playfully called "Viejo," Spanish for "old."

 "If he sees somebody -- he needs money, and he's got money in the pocket -- he don't care about himself," Hernandez said.  "He [would] give you the money and say, 'Take it, you need it more than me.'"

 Hernandez and other friends said they last saw Pagan a week ago.

"We be looking for him," Hernandez said.  "I was calling his friends, talking to people.  'Where he at?  Have you seen him?'"

Hernandez and Pagan's daughter both said he was an experienced swimmer who knew the Schuylkill River well.

"He was a good swimmer,"  Hernandez said.  "Nobody could beat him at swimming."

Pagan's death was a tragic end for a man who just lost his wife to cancer a year ago.

"That was his wife, his best friend, everything," Hernandez said.  "They was always together."

Despite the depression that followed, friends and family believe this was not a suicide -- just a swimming accident after record high rainfall this summer.

Hernandez hopes it serves as a warning to others.

"Don't do it, you know?," he said.  "You've got people that care about you; I wouldn't want nothing [to] happen to you."

Reading Police said parts of this river can be very high, especially around construction zones.

The Berks County Coroner said autopsy results won't be complete for four to six weeks.