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By Jess Hardiman
A US bodybuilder has tragically died while rescuing two people from drowning, having been remembered by his family as someone with the ‘biggest heart ever’.
Joshua Crane, 30, was a fourth-year medical student at the University of California Davis School of Medicine, and was also a keen National Physique Committee bodybuilder who recently competed in the 2022 Governor’s Cup.
He had been at the San Juan rapids in the American River last Friday, 29 July, when he noticed two people struggling in the water, according to Metro Fire of Sacramento.
Fire chief Captain Parker Wilbourn said Crane had jumped in to help them but sadly died, with crews recovering his body beyond the rapids the following day.
"This river could potentially be unforgiving,” Wilbourn said, adding that Metro Fire responds to multiple rescues a day during the summer season.
"The number one thing you can do is wear your life jacket," he warned.
Crane’s school paid tribute to Crane, who was also a former member of the US Navy, saying in a statement: “We are deeply saddened by the recent passing of Joshua Crane, one of our MS4s, in a tragic American River accident. Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones as we support each other through this heartbreaking loss. He was an extraordinary young man devoted to helping others.”
His family said Crane had organised a get together at the river with some fellow students when some of the party got stuck while tubing near the rapids.
Speaking to ABC, his sister Jessica said: "There were two females that were stuck on tubes and my brother was on a paddleboard and they were asking for help. So he jumped off his paddleboard, like he would (to) help anybody, and no hesitation, no questions asked, jumped off his paddleboard and jumped in the water and got them out."
She added: "My brother was a humble guy and anybody who knew him knew he had the biggest heart ever imaginable. He would do anything, He'd give you the shirt off his back and just be there.
"That's something that I knew that he would do. No matter no matter what."
Crane had been studying to become a doctor, and was expecting to graduate next spring.
"That's the biggest thing that gets me is that a great life was cut short,” Jessica said. “I know he touched a lot of lives, and he made a lot of great friends and people along the way."
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