Explorer Henry Worsley has died after suffering exhaustion and dehydration during a record-breaking attempt to cross Antarctica alone.
The 55-year-old ex-Army officer was devastatingly close to achieving his goal of becoming the first person to cross the continent unaided, falling just 30 miles short, reports the BBC.
According to the Guardian, Worsley had covered 913 miles over 71 days on his own, including passing the south pole, when he was forced to call for help after succumbing to exhaustion and severe dehydration.
His wife, Joanna, said in a statement:
It is with heartbroken sadness I let you know that my husband, Henry Worsley, has died following complete organ failure, despite all efforts of medical staff.
Mr Worsley spent two days unable to move from his tent, before he was forced to pull out of the charity adventure.
He was flown to hospital in Punta Arenas, Chile, where he had surgery after doctors discovered his abdomen was infected. However, he died on Sunday.
The trek was raising money for the Endeavour Fund, a charity that helps injured and sick servicemen and women.
It is managed by the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, and Mr Worsley had passed his target of raising £100,000.
In his final statement, Worsley described how his desire to help wounded soldiers with their rehabilitation was the central focus of his expedition:
Having been a career soldier for 36 years and recently retired, it has been a way of giving back to those far less fortunate than me.
The gradual grinding down of my physical endurance finally took its toll today, and it is with sadness that I report it is journey’s end – so close to my goal.Advertisement
Prince William, who, according to the Guardian, was patron of the expedition, expressed his sadness at the explorer’s death:
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) January 25, 2016
David Beckham also posted a tribute to Mr Worsley on Instagram:
No words can describe the sadness of the loss of Henry. I was lucky enough to have met Henry on my way out to the Antarctic and I asked if I could use his Union Jack for a picture. He kindly leant it to me and I could feel how special this was to him so I was so honoured that he had done this for me… A man that has served our country for so many years and a man that talked about his family with so much pride… Our thoughts are with Henry’s family at this time 🇬🇧Advertisement
Adventurer Bear Grylls tweeted:
We are devastated by this loss. One of the strongest men & bravest soldiers I know. Praying for his special family. https://t.co/jToeeQbVLT
— Bear Grylls (@BearGrylls) January 25, 2016
Our condolences go out to Mr Worsley’s family and friends.