Explorer Dies Just Before He Was About to Finish Solo Trek Across Antarctica

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Prince William and polar explorer Henry Worsley pose with a Union flag at Kensington Palace on October 19, 2015.Photo: JOHN STILLWELL

British explorer Henry Worsley died this weekend, during his attempt to become the first person to ever cross Antarctica alone, only 30 miles from the end of his journey.

He had already traveled more than 900 miles over 71 days.

The 55-year-old died from "complete organ failure" — he appeared to have bacterial peritonitis, an infection on his abdomen, and was severely exhausted and dehydrated. Worsley had called for help, stuck in a blizzard, and was airlifted to Chile. He sent one last message before leaving the cold: "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."

Many people who were friends with the explorer sent off sad messages on Twitter. 

Besides trying to become the first person to ever trek across the Antarctic, the ex-Army man, who leaves behind a wife and two children, was also trying to raise money for wounded soldiers and veterans — he managed to raise $140,000. 

Back in October, before beginning the trip, he told the BBC, “There is no black art to driving one ski in front of the other. What is driving me on is the money for these wounded soldiers.”