11/08/2012 05:32 pm ET Updated Nov 09, 2012

Herbie Johnson Funeral: Chicago Firefighter Laid To Rest

Thousands gathered Thursday at a Southwest Side church to lay to rest a 32-year veteran Chicago firefighter who died last week while battling an extra-alarm blaze.

Cpt. Herbert "Herbie" Johnson was described as "a bully for love and life" by the Rev. Thomas McCarthy at the Thursday funeral at St. Rita of Cascia Shrine Chapel, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Mourners at the service included Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Gov. Pat Quinn and hundreds of the firefighter's friends and family, including Johnson's brother, John, a Chicago police officer -- plus firefighters from across the city, the suburbs and North America.

John delivered an emotional eulogy and shared memories of his 54-year-old brother, who died Friday after saving several families in a fire at a home in the city's South Side Gage Park neighborhood. An investigation into the fire's cause is ongoing.

"Herbie, I could not be prouder of you, dying for what you loved, doing what you loved and doing it for the City of Chicago," Ted said Thursday, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. "Most of all, I am even prouder to call you my brother."

Herbie Johnson has been described as "larger than life" and "a masterful fireman" by those who knew him. He leaves behind a wife and three children, according to ABC Chicago.

"He was the life of the fire department," firefighter John Jakuec told CBS Chicago. "Heaven is going to have a lot of fun with him."

Johnson was previously awarded the state's Medal of Honor for bravery, the highest honor given by Illinois to a firefighter.

As of Thursday, nearly 10,000 people have liked a remembrance page for Johnson.

"Could he ever have imagined that he touched SO many with his smile & personality?" Beth, one Facebook user, wrote on the page Thursday.

A memorial fund has been established to provide assistance to Johnson's family at this tragic time.

CORRECTION: A eulogy at Johnson's funeral was delivered by John Johnson, not Ted Johnson, as an earlier version of this story incorrectly stated.