23-year-old Dylan Smith of Belle Harbor, New York, who risked his life to save his Rockaway neighbors at the height of Hurricane Sandy, was found dead over the weekend after an apparent surfing accident off the coast of Puerto Rico.
Smith body was found floating in the waters near Maria's Beach where he had been vacationing. An attempt by a doctor to revive him was unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead.
A lifeguard by trade, Smith was honored as one of People magazine's Heroes of the Year for his act of bravery during the superstorm.
According to the publication, Smith and sales director Michael McDonnell saved a half-dozen trapped residents from a six-foot storm surge and a quick-moving gas fire with the aid of a homemade rope bridge and a surfboard.
Sadly, it was surfing that ultimately claimed the young man's life.
"The same sport — the sport of surfing — that he used to save all those people, it's so shocking that he perished that way," said FDNY Chief and family friend Michael Light.
"He was one of a kind," a neighbor told the New York Post. "We're going to miss him a lot."
Smith leaves behind a mother, a father, and a younger brother.
[photo via WNBC]