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Boater dies after becoming ill during race

SAN ANTONIO, June 12 (UPI) -- A 30-year-old man who fell ill during an endurance boat race in Texas has died, authorities said.

Brad Ellis, who had become ill Sunday during the Texas Water Safari race on the San Marcos and Guadalupe rivers, was the first participant to die in the event's 50-year history, the San Antonio Express-News reported.

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Ellis died of hyponatremia, or low sodium, said Allen Spelce, president of the Texas Water Safari.

"It goes against logic," Spelce said. "You think, 'Drink water, drink water,' but you're expelling all of that sodium, through sweat and using the bathroom, and not getting the replacements."

Ellis, of Dripping Springs, Texas, was participating in his first water safari, paddling an aluminum boat with teammate Ian Rolls, 34, Spelce said.

The 260-mile race, known as "the world's toughest canoe race," began Saturday, and Ellis and Rolls had gone more than 98 miles.

Ellis was reported to have started getting sick about 4:30 a.m. Sunday and was lying in the canoe when he fell into the Guadalupe River about 11 miles downriver from Gonzales, Game Warden Dan Waddell of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department said.

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Rolls pulled Ellis to the riverbank, where Ellis was conscious but "totally out of it" when he was put on a helicopter and flown to San Antonio, Spelce said.

Ellis worked in the Austin office of lobbying firm Ryan & Co.

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