The family Richard Russell, 29, a ground service agent, otherwise known as Beebo, delivered a statement to the media on Saturday evening, via their friend Mike Matthews.
They said of Richard: “He was a faithful husband, loving son and a good friend.
“A childhood friend remarked that Beebo was loved by everyone because he was kind and gentle to each person he met.
“This is a complete shock to us.”
They paid tribute to their faith helping them.
Mr Matthews continued: “We are devastated by these events and Jesus is truly the only one holding this family together, without him, we would be hopeless.”
Richard Russell took an Alaska Air from Seattle Tacoma Airport on Friday evening and flew it without authorisation. The conversations he had with air traffic control doing his time in the air have also been released.
The 29-year old commented on the scenery, and told the air traffic control staff he hoped the incident wouldn’t “ruin” their day.
He said:“I wouldn’t know how to land — I wasn’t really planning on landing it.
“Man, the sights went by so fast.
“I was thinking, like, I’m going to have this moment of serenity, take in all the sights.
“There’s a lot of pretty stuff, but they’re pretty in another context.”
He continued: “I don’t want to hurt no-one.
“I hope this doesn’t ruin your day.”
The airport ground service agent also apologised to his friends and family, calling himself a “broken guy”.
He said over the radio:“I got a lot of people that care about me and it’s going to disappoint them to hear that I did this.
“I would like to apologise to each and every one of them.
“Just a broken guy, got a few screws loose I guess.
“Never really knew it until now.”
A full investigation into the incident has been launched, and it is expected it will focus on how Mr Russell was able to take control of the aircraft, taxi it and take it off without detection.