Updated at 18.51
45-YEAR-OLD Irishman Paraic Casey has died while attempting to swim the English Channel.
The Cork-born swimmer fell ill off the coast of France in the early hours of Sunday morning.
The Channel Swimming and Piloting Federation (CS&PF) said authorities were informed of his illness and attended the scene, but the organisation is currently unable to give further details on what happened.
In a statement by the swimmer’s wife, Riana, she said he was an “amazing, healthy, tough, loving husband, friend, brother, uncle, son, nephew and cousin”.
A spokesperson for the family added that Casey was “almost at the finish” when he became ill.
The CS&PF explained that Casey was passed fit to swim following a medical examination by his doctor.
The statement added: “He also notified us that he had completed a six hour training swim. He was wearing a wet-suit for the Channel crossing.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Paraic’s family at this time.”
St Vincent de Paul have also released a statement in the wake of Casey’s death:
“The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is shocked and saddened at the news of Paraic Casey’s death while swimming the English channel.
“We understand that the Society was one of the organisations that Mr Casey from Cork was seeking to raise funds for from his charity swim.
“We offer our sincere condolences to his family.”
A link to Casey’s charity page can be found here.