An explorer trying to complete a historic trek across Antarctica covered 913 miles over 71 days on his own—only to die 30 miles short of his goal, reports the Guardian. Henry Worsley, a 55-year-old former British army officer, died of "complete organ failure" after being airlifted out, says his wife in a statement Monday. He was trying to become the first solo person to cross the Antarctic unaided, pulling a sled with all of his food and equipment instead of relying on supply drops, reports the BBC. Worsley had been in touch by satellite phone with the outside world, and he called for help after being unable to leave his tent for two days because of exhaustion and severe dehydration. Chilean doctors who were unable to save him say his abdomen had become infected with bacterial peritonitis.
Worsley had managed a final statement: "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." One part of the goal he did achieve, however: His Shackleton Solo Expedition raised $142,000 for the Endeavour Fund, which helps wounded UK soldiers. Worsley timed his charity trek to coincide with the centennial of the famed 1915 attempt by Ernest Shackleton, an explorer for whom he had a lifelong fascination, notes the Telegraph. His death has caught the attention of the royal family: "Harry and I are very sad to hear of the loss of Henry Worsley," Prince William said in a statement. "We are incredibly proud to be associated with him." (See newly unearthed photos from the 1915 expedition.)