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By Ben Kesslen
An American man who had the goal of climbing the tallest mountain on each continent died after reaching the top of Mount Everest, his seventh and final summit.
Don Cash, 55, was a Utah resident and passionate climber who had left his job to join the “Seven Summits Club.”
Cash’s children said their father knew he was on a risky mission. On a previous climb, he lost fingers to frostbite. Still, he was determined to reach all seven summits.
“He taught us that nothing was impossible,” Brandalin Cash, his daughter, told NBC affiliate KSL-TV.
Cash made it to the top of Everest, completing his life’s dream, but collapsed on the descent on a portion of the trail called the “Hillary Step.”
The exact cause of Cash’s death is unclear, but his family thinks he had a heart attack while descending from the peak of the world’s tallest mountain. His family said sherpas, mountain guides on Everest, tried to perform CPR and give him oxygen, but he died as he was transported back to camp.
According to The Himalayan Times, Cash is the 12th climber to die on mountains in the range with elevations above 25,000 feet in this year’s spring climbing season, currently at its peak.
BMC Software, Cash’s former employer, told NBC News, “Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with Don Cash’s family during this difficult time.”
“One of the last messages my mom got was thank you for supporting me in my dreams,” Brandalin Cash said. “He wanted to do this. He wanted to be on that mountain. He wanted to show that he could accomplish dreams and that others can too.”