When Darren Cook was 10 years old, he used pieces of cardboard and wood to build a replica of the cockpit in the Millennium Falcon, the spaceship commanded by Han Solo and Chewbacca in “Star Wars.”

Once it was complete, he gave it to his younger brothers, Alex and Adam Cook.

“What 10-year-old does that for his siblings?” said Adam Cook of Norfolk, Virginia. “He didn’t build it for himself. It’s unreal. He wanted to watch us play and enjoy it.”

This simple gesture, inspired by love for his brothers and all things “Star Wars,” set the tone for how he lived.

Mr. Cook, of South Portland, died Saturday after a sudden illness. He was 45.

A medical examiner concluded that Mr. Cook had myocarditis, likely caused by a virus that weakened his heart muscle, his brother said.

Mr. Cook was remembered this week as a creative and outgoing guy with a big personality and even bigger heart. In phone interviews Thursday, he was described as loving, generous, compassionate and non-judgmental.

Adam Cook talked about the friendships his brother nurtured over the years – from growing up in a tight-knit Westbrook neighborhood to volunteering for three years in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

He shared stories of playing touch football, Wiffle ball, and hosting a mini-Olympics competition.

“He had this amazing ability to be everyone’s best friend,” Adam Cook said. “He never ever judged you, no matter what your background was.”

Dean Wellman of Scarborough knew Darren Cook since second grade.

“He was magic, you know,” Wellman said. “He brought out the best in people. He helped bring people together.”

Darren Cook was a loving son of Bernal and Carleen Cook of Westbrook.

His mother said he loved and embraced everyone around him, always showing interest in their lives, and particularly his brothers’ careers.

“He was the ultimate listener,” his mother said. “He was compassionate and supportive. He absolutely embraced life and loved it. He had a way of making people laugh and see the better side of what might be going on.”

Mr. Cook worked as a personal trainer at Snap Fitness in South Portland. Adam Cook said his brother was incredibly fit and health-conscious. They both shared a passion for hiking, and Adam Cook estimated they made close to 30 ascents of Mount Washington together.

“It was always the worst weather,” he said, laughing.

One of the highlights of Darren Cook’s life was being a dad to his 10-year-old daughter, Skylar Cook.

Adam Cook choked up, saying he found a card Skylar sent to her father for Father’s Day. The front of the card said “Super Dad.” Inside, it read, “You’re my hero.”

Skylar wrote, “Daddy, if I could wish for another dad, nobody could make me. Love, your daughter Skylar.

“The focus has been on Skylar,” Adam Cook said. “Everyone is rallying around her. They were incredibly close.”

Michaela Cavallaro, Darren Cook’s former wife and Skylar’s mother, said he was supportive and encouraging in all of their daughter’s interests.

“He was a fantastic father,” Cavallaro said. “It’s one of the things he was best at in his life. He introduced her to all of the things he loved, which included kayaking in Casco Bay, the Red Sox, “Star Wars” movies and basketball. He got a kick out of sharing what he loved with her. She just ate it up.”

On the morning Mr. Cook died, he attended his daughter’s basketball game with his parents.

“When he left, he said ‘Goodbye’ and ‘I love you.’ He hugged and kissed his daughter and told her he loved her,” Carleen Cook recalled. “Our final memory of him was him being so happy and loving and pleased. We were all so happy and enjoying each other.”

A celebration of Darren Cook’s life will be held from 6-10 p.m. Saturday at Willow’s Pizza & Restaurant in South Portland.