Daniel Sirrell, 21, was on holiday in Amsterdam at the weekend when he fell into a river.
Now a fundraising page has been launched to raise Â£50,000 for his family.
The page is the work of Daniel's friend Connor Elders, who wrote: "Over the weekend Daniel and his close friends went to Amsterdam for a weekend away, six of us went and tragically only five came back.
"What started as an amazing day ended in a our worst nightmare. Dan had a tragic accident and was resuscitated by emergency services... he was taken to hospital followed by friends where he sadly passed, spending his last moments with his friends by his side.
"Unfortunately, Dan was not insured... while being treated he incurred steep medical costs and now we need to raise as much money as we can to bring Daniel home to his Mam Karen; his Dad Jeff; his two brothers Adam and Jonathan along with his girlfriend Sam, along with the rest of his family who he loved very much.
"Please, please help bring Dan home to his family and friends to give him the send off he deserves. He will be truly missed and deserves to come home."
Daniel, from Peterlee, had played for Harton and Westoe FC for the last two seasons.
Team-mates at the club organised a gathering on Sunday night to pay tribute to the former East Durham College student.
Friend Josh Chapman today paid tribute to Daniel, who he said had been 'everybody's best friend.'
Josh was at work when he learned what had happened; "I was probably the only one of the group who did not go on the holiday," he said.
"I am buying a house, so at the last minute, I pulled out.
"I was at work and I got a text from one of the lads, who said 'Have you heard the news?'
"I rang the other Dan who was there with them. He was in bits on the phone. He said: 'It's Dan, he's gone.'
"I broke down at work and was sent home."
To contribute to the fund to bring Daniel home, visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/bringdanhome