Henry Worsley, a former officer of the British Army, set off on a solo mission across the Antarctic in November (15) and planned to spend 80 days trekking unaided to raise money for a charity which helps wounded troops.

The 55 year old was struck down with exhaustion and dehydration during the final stretch of the challenge, and was just 30 miles (48 kilometres) away from completing his mission when he had to be rescued.

On Monday (25Jan16), his family confirmed he had passed away at a hospital in Chile after suffering organ failure, and the tragedy has prompted an outpouring of grief from supporters including Beckham.

The retired soccer player shared a picture of himself posing with Henry on his Instagram.com page, and added in a caption, "No words can describe the sadness of the loss of Henry... I was lucky enough to have met Henry... A man that has served our country for so many years and a man that talked about his family with so much pride... Our thoughts are with Henry's family at this time."

Prince William also released a statement mourning the loss, and wrote on behalf of his brother Prince Harry, who has taken part in charity challenges walking to both the North and South Poles.

"Harry and I are very sad to hear of the loss of Henry Worsley," Prince William writes in the statement. "He was a man who showed great courage and determination and we are incredibly proud to be associated with him... We have lost a friend, but he will remain a source of inspiration to us all, especially those who will benefit from his support to the Endeavour Fund (charity). We will now make sure that his family receive the support they need at this terribly difficult time."

Henry had aimed to raise $150,000 (£100,00) for the Endeavour Fund as he recreated Sir Ernest Shackleton's doomed journey to the South Pole in 1915. Shackleton's trip was unfinished as his team was struck by a disaster when their ship sank and left them stranded on the ice.