Taking to Instagram, Ballard wrote: "So many of us lost Sam last week...He was truly larger than life.
"He taught me how to love, how to be brave, how to fight and how to laugh way too hard.
"Still when I throw my head back and cack like you did so often I think of you, every time.
"I’ll always have the purest, most vivid, most golden memories that will last forever.
"Thank you for that Sammy B. Rest easy now."
At Sam's funeral service his family insisted Ballard's mates with him that night must never feel any blame.
"We don't want you to feel any guilt about what happened that night," his brother Joshua said.
Instead, Joshua praised "Team Ballard" - the army of friends who rallied around Sam and continued to support him until his death.
"Your friendship to Sam was extraordinary," Joshua said.