'The gift of life': Man who died in 'freak' beach accident will help up to 75 people with organ, tissue donation

Jordan Culver

A North Carolina husband and father of six children — four of them adopted — who died in a "freak accident" at the beach will be able to help others one more time. 

Lee Dingle, who died over the weekend after a "powerful" wave at a North Carolina beach slammed him to the ground and broke his neck, was a registered organ and tissue donor.

His parents reached out to WSOC-TV in North Carolina and told the station that all of Dingle's organs will be donated. 

"Because of the gift of life that he’s giving, he’ll be able to help save and heal up to 75 people," Carolina Donor Services spokesman Chuck Heald told USA TODAY.  

Lee Dingle and his wife, Shannon Dingle.

On Tuesday, Dingle's wife, Shannon, tweeted, "I had no doubts that my husband wanted for his body to benefit others."

She added she's also the beneficiary of tissue donation. She said donor tissue was used to reconstruct ligaments in her knees in 2017. 

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"Please make sure your loved ones know your wishes," she tweeted. "Lee was a registered organ donor, but the consent for donation comes from the next of kin. Your loved ones need to know it matters to you for them to give those permissions and sign that paperwork on their worst day ever."

Dingle has been described by those who knew him as a generous man and a caring father. 

"He was always thinking of other people. His sort doesn't come along very often and we're going to miss him terribly. A fine, fine, fine man," Tom Caldwell, founder and senior partner of Atlas Engineering, where Dingle was president, told CNN.

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A GoFundMe campaign for Dingle's family has raised more than $273,000 since it was created on Friday.  

There are more than 113,000 men, women and children on the transplant waiting list as of January 2019, according to the Health Resources and Services Administration

"He'll be seen by so many people as a hero because he was a registered donor," Heald said.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Man who died in 'freak' beach accident 'hero' through organ donation