He was one of the world's best free divers. But 32-year-old Nicholas Mevoli was killed in The Bahamas after trying to set a record in the dangerous sport with swimmers descending to incredible depths on a single breath.
In a video posted on YouTube, Mevoli said, "As a kid, I got a lot of recognition for being the best at holding my breath. It was the only thing that I was good at."
Last May he celebrated the dive that made him the first American to reach 100 meters using a mermaid-like monofin. He held his breath for three minutes, 45 seconds. When he reached the surface, he flashed the required "OK" symbol.
On his fateful dive Sunday, he flashed the same symbol, but he was far from ok.
It quickly became clear that Nick Mevoli was in trouble. His words were garbled and his eyes wide and blank. He tipped backward into the ocean and lost consciousness. Medical personnel tried to revive him for a full 90 minutes. He died of Pulmonary edema, a condition caused by excess fluid in the lungs.
INSIDE EDITION spoke to his uncle, Paul Mevoli.
Watch our interview with Paul.
"We've seen Nick grow up, and we never thought anything could happen to him in the water. We just knew he would always come up," said Paul.
On the day he dies, Nick had been trying to set the American record for diving without a fin. And he did reach the record-setting depth of 72 meters. Tragically, the effort proved too much for this brave free diver.
In the YouTube video of Nick discussing gaining recognition as a child for holding his breath, he also said, "You don't know what dive is going to be your last."