LONDON, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- Henry Worsley, a British explorer and former British Army officer, died after nearly completing his goal of crossing the Antarctic without help.
Worsley, 55, was airlifted Sunday to a hospital in Punta Arenas, Chile, with exhaustion and dehydration, and was diagnosed with bacterial peritonitis, an infection in the abdomen. He underwent surgery but died despite efforts.
One of the goals of Worsley's journey was to raise money for the Endeavour Fund charity, which assists injured and ill British military servicemembers. Worsley's efforts were part of the Shackleton Solo expedition, inspired by the legendary British explorer Ernest Shackleton's failed crossing of the Antarctic a century ago.
Worsley, from the London borough of Fulham, was 30 miles short of completing the 1,100-mile coast-to-coast journey he began in November. He carried a sledge containing food, a tent and equipment, and planned on crossing the continent without assistance from supply drops, from sled dogs or any other sources.
Joanna Worsley, his wife, said she felt "heartbroken sadness" following his death, adding that he died of "complete organ failure."
Worsley released a final message before he left Antarctica:
"I set out on this journey to attempt the first solo unsupported crossing of the Antarctic landmass, a feat of endurance never before achieved," Worsley wrote. "But more importantly, to raise support for The Endeavour Fund, to assist wounded soldiers in their rehabilitation. Having been a career soldier for 36 years and recently retired, it has been a way of giving back to those far less fortunate than me."
Worsley spent 36 years with the British Army. He passed his goal of raising more than $140,000 for the charity.
"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," Worsley concluded.
Worsley also detailed the routine he would take on his journey: