British adventurer Henry Worsley dies trying to cross Antarctic solo

  • AFP, London
  • Updated: Jan 25, 2016 21:47 IST
In this file photo, Henry Worsley is seen with Britain's Prince William as they hold the British flag in London. (AP)

Noted British adventurer Henry Worsley has died in an attempt to cross the Antarctic on his own in a trip backed by members of the royal family, his wife said on Monday.

Worsley was just 30 miles (48 kilometres) from the finish when he called for help and was airlifted to a hospital in Chile on Friday suffering from exhaustion and severe dehydration.

“It is with heartbroken sadness I let you know that my husband, Henry Worsley, has died following complete organ failure,” his wife Joanna said in a statement.

Worsley died in the Clinica Magallanes in Punta Arenas, Chile, “despite all efforts” of medical staff, she added.

She said Worsley had raised £100,000 ($143,000, 132,000 euros) for the Endeavour Fund, a charity to help people wounded in the military and backed by Prince William, his wife Kate and brother Prince Harry.

William paid tribute to Worsley and his attempt to cross Antarctica via the South Pole -- a feat left unfinished by explorer Ernest Shackleton a century ago.

“Harry and I are very sad to hear of the loss of Henry Worsley. He was a man who showed great courage and determination and we are incredibly proud to be associated with him,” William said.

“We have lost a friend, but he will remain a source of inspiration to us all, especially those who will benefit from his support to the Endeavour Fund.

“We will now make sure that his family receive the support they need at this terribly difficult time.”

A 55-year-old former Army officer from London, Worsley had hoped to become the first man to cross the Antarctica solo, unsupported and without assistance.

He was 71 days into the attempt when he called for help. A statement on his website said he was found to be suffering with peritonitis, an inflammation of the lining of the abdomen.

In his final statement from the expedition he expressed his dismay at having to pull out so close to the end after covering almost 1,500 kilometres on foot, dragging his equipment in a sledge.

“It is with sadness that I report it is journey’s end -- so close to my goal,” he said.

Another British explorer, Ranulph Fiennes, dropped out of a similar charity trek in 2013.

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