LONDON – A British adventurer has died after suffering exhaustion and dehydration while attempting to become the first person to cross the Antarctic alone and unsupported.
Former army officer Henry Worsley was just 30 miles (48 kilometres) from the end of the almost 1,000-mile (1,600 kilometre) trek when he called for help and was airlifted off the ice Friday.
His family said Monday that Worsley died “following complete organ failure” at a hospital in Punta Arenas, Chile. He had undergone surgery a day earlier for bacterial peritonitis -an infection of the tissue lining the abdomen, which can lead to septic shock.
The 55-year-old Worsley covered more than 900 miles in 71 days, pulling supplies on a sled, while attempting to complete Ernest Shackleton’s unfinished trans-Antarctic expedition of a century ago. Shackleton’s journey turned into a desperate survival mission after his ship, the Endeavour, was trapped and sunk by pack ice in 1915, leaving his team stranded.
Worsley’s wife Joanna said the expedition had raised more than 100,000 pounds ($140,000) for wounded troops.
Prince William, who was a patron of the expedition, said he and his brother Prince Harry had lost a friend.
“He was a man who showed great courage and determination and we are incredibly proud to be associated with him,” William said.
Worlsey decided to abandon his journey Friday after spending two days unable to leave his tent.
“The 71 days alone on the Antarctic with over 900 statute miles covered and a 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,” he said in a final statement from Antarctica.