Monte Monfore, an open-water swimmer who used his races to raise money and awareness for humanitarian causes, passed away at Pinatang Park in Songsong, Rota, Northern Mariana Islands Tuesday afternoon.
A witness found him floating face-down in a swimming hole, and called 911. His cause of death is unknown, but he was found with a “very significant” head injury, according to the Saipan Tribune.
Medics performed chest compressions before taking him to the Rota Health Center, where he was pronounced dead. Notably, waters were rough on Tuesday due to a passing storm.
Monfore is originally from California, and was thought to have been living in Bali since 2004 and moved to Rota, alone, six months ago. He holds the World Record for the quickest swim on the Bali Straight, between the two closest points of Bali and Java.
His most famous swim was the 7K Lombok Fight Hunger Swim in 2007, when Monfore swam from Lombok island in Indonesia to the very small Gili Trawangan island. You can view highlights of the swim and interviews with Monfore below:
Before that, in 2006, he swam for victims of the Yogya earthquake.
Monfore often made intentional choices to swim his races in harsh conditions to symbolize the issues that faced the people for whom he swam. For example, in the wake of the earthquake, he chose to begin his swim in the dark to symbolize destruction.