Yesterday, family and friends gathered in Warwick, Orange County to mourn the death of Steve Ercolino, the 41-year-old women's apparel executive who was killed by disgruntled former employee Jeffrey Johnson near the Empire State Building Friday morning. For the first time since his death, Ercolino's longtime girlfriend, Bronx-born Ivette Rivera, has spoken out about the loss. “My life will never be the same without my baby, my protector, my best friend, my everything,” she wrote in a Facebook post. “It will be hard to face every day without him by my side. No words can describe my pain...I don’t know how to live without him. I need him so much.”

The couple, who shared an apartment in Hoboken for the last four years, met eight years ago through Rivera's mother, who met Ercolino through work. “They used to go to work together every day in the morning, take the shuttle into the city,” Danny Garcia, the doorman at the couple’s building, told the Post. “They were very nice people.”

“Everything they did, they did together as a couple,” her brother Marcos Rivera, told the News. “He definitely was a good person...She said he was her baby, that’s what she used to say. He made her happy." He added that a doctor has prescribed Valium to his sister as she deals with the death, and that she went to Sloan-Kettering Memorial Cancer Center yesterday to break the news to his mother, who is recovering from lung surgery.

The two had recently gotten back from a vacation to Cancun, Mexico. “She’s absolutely distraught. He was her rock,” Ercolino's brother Paul said. “They always wanted to get married,” he added to the News. “He didn’t have a ring, I don’t think.” Danny J., who used to work with Ercolino, told the Post: “He was just one of the most generally nice people I’ve ever met. If you needed anything, he would offer any help that he could.”

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