Gallegos passed away Tuesday after being hospitalized for complications from a liver transplant he received five years ago. He was 62.
State leaders joined the people of Houston in remembering Gallego at a public visitation and rosary at the University of Houston on Sunday evening.
Gallegos was known as a champion for higher education. He was also a UH graduate, so it was appropriate that the school was where his friends, family and colleagues gathered to celebrate his life.
Music and prayer filled the nearly-packed Cullen Performance Hall as family and friends reflected on a man whose life and death have drawn national attention.
"There's not one of us in the Texas Senate who does not love and respect -- and will always love and respect -- Mario Gallegos," Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said.
While politically divided, Dewhurst says the last words Gallegos spoke in the hospital last week were to him. He asked, "How are you?"
"In pain -- knowing that his time was short on Earth, knowing that his time was short with his family -- he was thinking about other people," Dewhurst said.
One after one, his political brothers and sisters shared stories of a man who gained a reputation as a fighter, a man who served as senior captain of the Houston Fire Department for 22 years and then as the first Mexican-American state senator from Harris County.
And even through a very public illness, Gallegos continued to fight for social justice and for more opportunities for Latinos.
A funeral mass will be held Monday at 9:30am at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in downtown Houston.