Cory Erving Remembered

08/25/1998 at 12:00 AM EDT

Cory Erving, the son of basketball legend Julius Erving, might have been using cocaine just before his car plunged into a pond, a Florida medical examiner announced on Wednesday -- the same day that 1,500 friends and family members gathered for a memorial service for the 19-year-old, reports the Associated Press. Patti LaBelle delivered "The Lord's Prayer," while family friend (and longtime companion of Oprah Winfrey) Stedman Graham spoke. "You already know he would give you the shirt off his back," he said. "And he didn't have mean bone in his body." Graham added, "We know he was trying to find himself, as many young people do at that age." Erving was last seen alive over Memorial Day weekend, when he headed out to buy bread for a family picnic near the Erving home outside Orlando. Investigators, who had noted Cory's past drug use in their far-reaching search for him, are calling his death a probable accident.

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