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British solo trekker perishes in Antarctica

Adventurer Henry Worsley has died in an attempt to make history by crossing the Antarctic solo, his wife said. The explorer was 48 kilometers (30 miles) from the finish in his 1,000-mile trek when he called for help.

Worsley died in the Clinica Magallanes in Punta Arenas, Chile, "despite all efforts" of medical staff, his wife Joanna Worsley said in a statement on Monday.

"It is with heartbroken sadness I let you know that my husband, Henry Worsley, has died following complete organ failure," she wrote.

He was 71 days into his trek when he called for help and was airlifted to a hospital in Chile on Friday suffering from exhaustion and severe dehydration. Efforts to revive him at the hospital were unsuccessful, she said.

The 55-year-old former Army officer from London had hoped to become the first man to cross the Antarctica solo, unsupported and without assistance. He had been pulling supplies on a sled while attempting to complete Ernest Shackleton's unfinished trans-Antarctic voyage a century ago.

Shackleton's journey turned into a desperate mission of survival after his ship, the Endurance, was trapped and sunk by ice in 1915, leaving his team stranded.

For this feat he had raised about $143,000 (132,000 euros) for the Endeavour Fund, a charity to help people wounded in the British military and backed by members of the British royal family.

"Harry and I are very sad to hear of the loss of Henry Worsley," Prince William said in a tribute. "He was a man who showed great courage and determination and we are incredibly proud to be associated with him."

A statement on Worsley's personal website said he was found to be suffering from peritonitis, an inflammation of the lining of the abdomen.

He expressed his dismay at having to pull out so close to the end after covering almost 1,500 kilometers on foot, dragging his equipment in a sledge.

"It is with sadness that I report it is journey's end -- so close to my goal," he wrote.

jar/jil (AFP, AP)