It was supposed to be a celebration, a family gathering to mark Leanne Samson's 40th birthday.
But the weekend party turned to tragedy last Saturday night when her 19-year-old son, Blaxland High School graduate Jarrod Samson-Hills, fell to his death from a sixth floor balcony at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Terrigal.
He landed beside the swimming pool and suffered severe head and internal injuries. He was rushed to Gosford Hospital then transferred to Royal North Shore but died later that night.
Jarrod's family, his skateboarding friends and former classmates expressed their shock and horror at his untimely death.
Sister Michelle, who was at the hotel to help celebrate her mother's birthday, posted on Facebook: "To my baby brother, I know that I didn't tell you that I love you as much as I should have, but I think you always knew."
She also thanked those who had expressed their love and offered condolences, including his mates from Glenbrook skate park, who wrote personal goodbyes on a skateboard which they presented to the family.
"It means more than words could ever say. Even though he is gone I think it is safe to say he has made an impact on everyone around him. I love you so much," Michelle wrote.
His father, Simon Hills, trembled as he spoke to Channel 7. "All I can do is remember him for the good times," he said. And an uncle, Darren Samson, spoke of "a positive kid, you couldn't say a bad word about him".
Jarrod completed school at Blaxland High last year. A spokeswoman said: "The school's community is deeply saddened by the event and counselling is provided to anyone who needs it."
There were hundreds of messages posted on social media. Many spoke of Jarrod's ever-present smile. Others referred to a well-mannered young man who showed respect and had a maturity beyond his tender years.
Jarrod's girlfriend, Mae Kirkpatrick, wrote: "I'm never going to see him again.... Come back buddy, I miss you."
Wade Murray posted: "To my best mate and my brother I wish I had, I will miss and cherish every memory I had with you. Rest easy in a better place. Love you brother with all my heart."
Blue Mountains City Council mayor, Mark Greenhill, said the loss of a life was always "deeply tragic, a young life even more so".
He said he would be open to having some kind of tribute to Jarrod at the skate park where he spent so much time doing what he loved.
"But it would need to be something that meets with the approval of the family, that is most important."
Clr Greenhill added: "My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this deeply awful time."
Jarrod's death notice in today's Gazette signs off with a message: "Skating in the clouds."
Police said they were speaking with witnesses to find out the circumstances surrounding Jarrod's death, including whether alcohol was involved.