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Shark attack victim Tamayo Perry remembered by widow and friend


(NEW YORK) — The widow and close friend of Tamayo Perry, a renowned surfer, actor, and lifeguard, shared their heartfelt memories and reflections following his tragic death in a shark attack off the coast of Hawaii.

In an exclusive interview with ABC News on Good Morning America on Wednesday, Emilia Perry spoke with sorrow about the life and legacy of Tamayo Perry, a man celebrated for his deep faith and exceptional surfing talent.

“The world knew Tamayo as a surfer and an actor, but to those who knew him best, he was a man of deep faith … now taken too soon,” said Perry. “I feel so upset and devastated. But I also have a weird calmness in my heart knowing that he’s in a better place.”

Perry was known for his roles in Pirates of the Caribbean as well as Blue Crush and was a beloved figure in the community.

“It was like I went on the best 25-year vacation of my life with him. And now it’s over. Now I got to come back to reality,” Emilia told ABC News’ Matt Rivers in an interview.

Jesse King, a close friend and coworker, recounted Perry’s familiarity with the waters where he met his untimely end, saying that he knew the area where he died like the back of his hand, paddling out on Sunday in the waters off Goat Island like he always did.

“There was nothing out of the ordinary that would indicate that something bad would happen to him versus anybody else. A regular day,” King recalled.

Perry’s death marks only the ninth fatal shark attack in Hawaii in the past 30 years but despite the tragedy, his friends believe Perry would have encouraged others to continue enjoying the ocean.

“For people that are surfers and avid ocean users, we do it because we love it,” King said.

Emilia, who shared over two decades of her life with Perry, added that he always had profound impact on those around him.

King said he showed people “how to be a better human, to love everybody when you have them, because you never know when they’re going to be taken away.”

Perry’s devout Christian faith remained a source of strength and comfort in his final days, even texting his family, “I can’t wait to meet the King. I’m excited. Not scared. We got to pray and forgive and love.”

Perry, 49, had been a lifeguard with Honolulu Ocean Safety since 2016. He was a local surf coach and competed for years in the Pipeline Master Trials, according to his official bio on his coaching site.

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