A friend of Prince William, explorer Henry Worsley, has died after falling ill whilst attempting a solo crossing of Antarctica.
The 55-year-old ex-army officer was just 30 miles short from his goal of becoming the first person to cross Antarctica unaided.
Mr Worsley’s wife Joanna said she felt “heartbroken sadness” when confirming the news that her husband had died from “complete organ failure”.
The Duke of Cambridge paid tribute to his friend in a statement released by Kensington Palace.
William says: “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.”
“Even after retiring from the Army, Henry continued to show selfless commitment to his fellow servicemen and women, by undertaking this extraordinary Shackleton solo expedition on their behalf.
“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.”
Other celebrities have also paid tribute, including David Beckham and Bear Grylls.
Back in October, William waved Worsley off from Kensington Palace as he started the trek. He also sent him a personalised Christmas message, telling him how proud everyone was of his efforts.
Mr Worsley organised the expedition to raise money for the Endeavour Fund, a charity which helps injured servicemen and women – of which the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, along with Prince Harry, manage.
The trek came to a halt when he had to be flown to a hospital in Punta Arenas in Chile, where he was found to have bacterial peritonitis. He underwent surgery but died on Sunday.
In his final statement sent from Antarctica, the ex-serviceman described how his desire to help wounded soldiers with their rehabilitation was the central focus of his expedition.
Shortly before his death, Mr Worsley wrote: “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.”
Although the trip wasn’t completed, Henry Worsley’s legacy will continue as he managed to achieve his goal of raising over £100,000 to help wounded service personnel.