Explorer Dies Just 30 Miles From the End of First Unaided Trek Across Antarctica

Explorer Dies Just 30 Miles From the End of First Unaided Trek Across Antarctica (Getty)

A British explorer has died just miles short of reaching his goal to cross the Antarctic alone.

Henry Worsley had just 30 miles more to go before he would have been the first man to conquer the southern continent unaided--a trek stretching 1,100 miles.

The 55-year-old had spent a grueling 71 days alone when dangerous weather and his deteriorating health forced him to call for help on Friday.

Worsley was airllifted to a hospital in southern Chile, where he died Sunday.

Before his death, however, Worsley was apparently well enough to send one final statement from Antarctica to his followers.

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"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 wrote.

Worsley was found extremely dehydrated and exhausted. He was later found to be suffering from peritonitis, an infection of the lining of the abdominal wall, CNN reports.

Worsley was attempting to complete early polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton's failed 1915 attempt to traverse Antarctica.

Thanks to his other achievements, Worsley was a revered figure beloved by everyone from Bear Grylls to the Duke of Cambridge.

Prince William released a statement on Worsley's death in which he conveyed both his and his brother's sadness.

"He was a man who showed great courage and determination...We are incredibly proud to be associated with him," it read.

"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."

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Bear Grylls tweeted: "We are devastated by this loss. One of the strongest men & bravest soldiers I know. Praying for his special family."

And David Beckham called himself "lucky to have met Henry" in an Instagram post.

Worsley's wife Joanna also released a statement, which read, in part: "Henry achieved his Shackleton Solo goals: of raising over £100,000 for the Endeavour Fund, to help his wounded colleagues, and so nearly completing the first unsupported crossing of the Antarctic landmass.

"A crossing made, under exceptionally difficult weather conditions, to mark the 100th anniversary of Sir Ernest Shackleton's Endurance expedition -- his lifelong hero."

Mrs. Worsley wrote that her husband died of "complete organ failure."

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