A community in tears said its goodbye on Thursday from one of its members, professor Liviu Librescu, killed in the Virginia Tech massacre, helping his students flee to safety in an act of heroism.

A moving service was held for Librescu in New York, before his body left for Israel. Hours after receiving Romania's highest distinction, Librescu was also honored by president George W. Bush.

Liviu Librescu sacrificed himself blocking the door in the way of the shooter, so that students may escape through the classroom windows.

Librescu, a Holocaust survivor and a teacher for 20 years at the Virginia Tech university, remains known in the media as "the hero in room 204".