Ryan started getting vulgar, homophobic e-mails but didn't tell his parents. He also began long online chats with a girl he liked—which turned out to be a devastating setup. "In front of her friends, she told Ryan: "Look, you're just a loser. I don't want anything to do with you. I was just joking,'" says John, who says he learned about the incident later. "She and a friend started to laugh."

A humiliated Ryan said girls like them made him want to kill himself. A month later, Ryan hanged himself in the bathroom of his home. "I remember screaming: 'Why? Why?'" Kelly says. "I didn't understand it. He just seemed so happy."

"If I had the opportunity to talk to Ryan right now, I would say: 'Ryan, I love you. I want to make sure you understand that I love you. We're going to be together again someday,'" John says.
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