CrossFit Coach Drowns Alongside Father After Saving Wife from Rip Current While Scattering Ashes: 'Hero'

Damian Walker "gave the ultimate sacrifice" to save his wife when she was caught in a rip current, according to a GoFundMe for the family


A beloved CrossFit trainer from Arizona died while saving his wife after she became caught in a rip current earlier this month.

According to a GoFundMe page, Damian Walker "gave the ultimate sacrifice" during the rescue on March 3 while the family was visiting Puerto Rico.

"He was the spark that lit the fire for so many people," a bio on the campaign's website said, referencing the WildFire CrossFit Community he was a member of. "He loved, lived, and breathed this place and this community. His spark truly spread like WildFire."

A member of Walker's gym told CBS affiliate KPHO that the 33-year-old trainer was visiting Puerto Rico to spread his grandfather's ashes in the ocean. His wife was caught in the rip current during the ceremony.

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"Damian jumped in, as he 100% lived his life with that hero mentality, 'I'm just gonna go in and save them,' " Tiffany Divelbiss, co-owner of Wildfire CrossFit, told the outlet.

Walker's father also attempted to rescue him, but both drowned. Walker's wife, Salmeh, survived, per the Sacramento Bee.

"He would be proud of the way things happened. He always wanted to be a superhero, and in the end, that's the way it ended up," Wildfire co-owner Skip Divelbiss told KPHO.

"To have him and that personality ripped away, there's been a huge hole in everybody's hearts," added Divelbiss.

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The body of Walker's father has still not been recovered.

On Tuesday afternoon, the GoFundMe page raising funds for his memorial service reached over $27,000.

"He was everyone's hero," campaign organizers wrote. "He had a way of making every single person he met feel special."

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They added: "He would save every animal on the planet if he could. He left this life the way he lived it. All in and sacrificing himself for someone else. The community and family are still in shock in processing this tragedy."

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