(CNN) - A North Carolina father of six died after a wave struck him on a beach and slammed him to the sand, breaking his neck.
Lee Dingle was 37 years old.
His wife posted the tragic news on social media.
“We met when I was 18 and he was 19, and we’ve been together ever since,” said Shannon Dingle on Facebook. “I wasn’t supposed to be saying goodbye at 37. I don’t know how to be a grownup without him, but I’ll learn. I just wish I didn’t have to.”
She said he was playing on Oak Island's beach with three of his kids Thursday when the wave struck him.
She said the force of the impact broke his neck and made his throat swell so much his brain was deprived of oxygen beyond the point of recovery.
She said despite the efforts of some heroes, including their kids, to save him, he died a day later.
Oak Island Water Rescue says it and other agencies gave emergency care to Dingle within minutes of the accident.