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Prince William's Explorer 'Friend' Henry Worsley Dies After Antarctic Bid

LONDON — A British explorer attempting to become the first person to travel solo across the Antarctic has died after falling ill 30 miles before the end of his 950-mile journey, his wife said Monday.

Henry Worsley, a 55-year-old former British Army officer, was 71 days into the cross-continental trip when he called for help after suffering extreme exhaustion and dehydration.

British Explorer Dies During Solo Antarctic Crossing 1:12

The father-of-two was flown to hospital in Punta Arenas, southern Chile, where he was diagnosed with bacterial peritonitis, an inflammation around the organs.

He died Sunday despite attempts to save him in surgery.

"It is with heartbroken sadness I let you know that my husband, Henry Worsley, has died following complete organ failure," his wife Joanna Worsley said in a statement.

Image: Prince William and Henry Worsley
Britain's Prince William holds a Union flag with explorer Henry Worsley at London's Kensington Palace in October. John Stillwell / Pool via Reuters file

Worsley's expedition was entitled Shackleton Solo, after the British explorer Ernest Shackleton who attempted his own ill-fated Antarctic crossing 100 years ago in 1915.

The trip would have been the first unaided journey across the continent, meaning he had to drag all his food and equipment on a sleigh through punishing terrain and weather.

He used to expedition to raise more than £100,000 (around £140,000) for the Endeavour Fund, which is managed by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry and supports wounded war veterans.

The Duke of Cambridge, who was also patron of the Shackleton Solo expedition, said in a statement that Worsley was "a man who showed great courage and determination and we are incredibly proud to be associated with him."

He added: "We have lost a friend, but he will remain a source of inspiration to us all."