Amidst the joy of the holiday season, on Thursday, Dec. 26, the Philadelphia art community was pained to learn of the loss of one of their own — Todd Marrone.

The acclaimed artist and educator died suddenly, leaving behind his wife Heather, two children Rocco and Matilda, and thousands of admirers and students whose lives he had touched in his short 39 years.

In a letter to the community, Welsh Valley Middle School principal Chris Hall stated, "we will miss his brilliance, his sense of humor, his passion for education and his boundless creativity."

Marrone had been a teacher at Welsh Valley for the past 16 years where he was loved not only for his talent as an artist and educator but for the quality of life he brought to others.

"If the Golden Rule saying is true: 'Do unto others as you would have them do to you,' then Todd would be a poster child to this scripture. If I can't give anything else in life the best I can give to the world is love, smiles, laughter and positive energy because Todd Marrone helped instill these values in me because of the life he lived," said former student Nahjee Grant.

Along Main Street in Manayunk, business owners and residents alike were feeling the shock of loss. Marrone had become a staple to the community where his artwork was often on display.

Meredith Hankins, along with her boyfriend and local artist Martin Maaskant, had recently curated a show of Marrone's work at Lucky's Last Chance for the month of November. With the news of his passing, Hankins stated "Todd's art was unmistakable and so vibrant...my heart goes out to his wife and beautiful children; he will greatly missed."

Lenny Bazemore owns the recently opened Bazemore Gallery and had been considering a 2014 show of Marrone's work. Marrone taught Bazemore's daughter at Welsh Valley Middle School.

"I was really looking forward to having Todd at the gallery," Bazemore said. "His art is complex in a way that not anyone can do it but he made it look easy. I love the colors, the smiles, the character faces, and expression. His artwork mimicked his life — it touches everything it comes in contact with," Bazemore said

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Rocco and Matilda Marrone Scholarship Fund in care of: Lower Merion Education Association 306 Parsons Avenue Bala Cynwyd PA 19004