A Michigan father died saving his daughter from drowning on April 16—hours before his own father’s memorial service in Florida.
William Mortiz, 38, was in town to attend his father’s service later that day.
He went to Jacksonville Beach with his 6-year-old daughter, Madelynn, who was pulled in by strong waves, according to the Daily News.
Police said Mortiz went into the water to rescue Madelynn, and drowned shortly after.
The girl and her father was taken to Wolfson Children’s Hospital, where Mortiz was pronounced dead, police said.
According to WJAX, Mortiz’s father passed away two weeks ago.
The family originally planned to hold a memorial service for Madelynn’s grandfather at the beach where Mortiz drowned, but the service has now been canceled.
— ActionNewsJax (@ActionNewsJax) April 16, 2016
A GoFundMe page has been created to help raise money for Mortiz’s funeral.
“William (Bill) Moritz lost his life on April 16th by doing what any great father would do,” said the page, which has raised $4,126 as of April 18 at 12:30 p.m.
“As a result of saving Maddy’s life he ultimately lost his,” Nicole Doherty, a close family friend, wrote on the page.
Madelynn’s mother, Magan, who lives in Michigan, released a statement about Moritz’s death.
Bill was the most kind hearted, selfless person I knew. Always there for his friends and family. There was never a time he didn’t put others before himself. Anyone could depend on Bill for anything in the world. He was the kind of person people were so grateful to have in their life and I was so lucky to have him in mine. His daughter was his world and he always spoke of her with sparkle in his eyes. He took pride in being a father everyday. Madelynn was his world. Such an amazing man who I now look to as my hero for courageously saving our beautiful daughter’s life.
Madelynn was released from hospital Saturday night.
Her mother is currently with her in Jacksonville and is making arrangements for Moritz’s funeral, which is expected to be held in Detroit.