An explorer from Fulham bidding to become the first person to cross the Antarctic alone has died 30 miles from the end of his 1,000 mile journey.
Henry Worsley suffered complete organ failure after he was airlifted off the ice on Day 70 of his epic trek, on January 22.
His Shackleton Solo website stated he was taken to hospital in Punta Arenas with peritonitis. He died on January 24.
His wife Joanna had flown to be with the 55-year-old, and announced his death in a statement.
She said: “It is with heartbroken sadness I let you know that my husband, Henry Worsley, has died following complete organ failure; despite all efforts of ALE and medical staff at the Clinica Magallanes in Punta Arenas, Chile.”
The former Amy officer was attempting to cross the ice mass unassisted to mark the centenary of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s failed attempted crossing of the continent.
The trek was raising money for the Endeavour Fund, a charity managed by the Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry which helps wounded servicemen and women who wish to undertake activities in the physical arena as part of their rehabilitation process.
Among the first to pay tribute was Prince William, a patron of the Shackleton Solo Expedition, who said he and his brother had lost a friend: “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.”
Battling temperatures of minus 44, tackling white-out blizzards and treacherous ice, the ex-lieutenant colonel had passed the South Pole - covering 913 miles and was a mere 30 miles from the finish.
After spending two days unable to move from his tent, the married father-of-two took the decision to pull out of the charity adventure after suffering from exhaustion and severe dehydration.
Announcing at the time that he had run out of steam an agonising 30 miles short of his goal, he said: “Sadly, I have shot my bolt.
“My journey is at an end. I have run out of time, physical endurance and the simple sheer ability to slide one ski in front of another to travel the distance required to reach my goal.
“My summit was just out of reach but I have spent 70 days all alone in a place I love”.
Henry achieved his goals
Explaining on the expedition’s justgiving page why he was doing what he was doing, Mr Worsley said: “I have just completed a 36 year career in the British Army and I want to leave a financial legacy to assist my wounded mates over the journey of their recovery and I can think of no better charity to support than the Endeavour Fund.”
At the time of writing he had raised £108,000, exceeding his £100,000 target.
Mrs Worsley added: “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.”
Mr Worsley’s expedition began in November and has attracted headlines around the world, from New Zealand to New York. He also met David Beckham when the former England captain dropped in as part of his Unicef challenge to play seven football matches in seven continents.
Mr Worsley aimed to complete the crossing in 75 days.