Mich. man drowns at Jacksonville Beach hours before father's memorial service

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. — The Michigan father who drowned after he saved his young daughter from the ocean at Jacksonville Beach was in town for his father's memorial service, family said.

Police said 28-year-old William Moritz went into the water to rescue his 6-year-old daughter at 8th Street North before noon on Saturday.

A gofundme page for Moritz, who goes by Bill, said he dove into the rough surf to rescue his daughter after she was pulled into the water.

"As a result of saving Maddy's life he ultimately lost his," Nicole Doherty, a close family friend, wrote on the gofundme page.

Maddy was taken to Wolfson Children's Hospital and was released Saturday night.

Maddy's mother Magan tells Action News Jax Moritz's dad died two weeks ago.

Moritz and his daughter were at the beach where family planned to hold a memorial service for Moritz's father later that day.

Magan said Moritz was very close with his father, and took his daughter to visit him once a year.

The service was cancelled after family learned of Moritz's death.

Magan, who lives in Michigan, released a statement about Moritz's death:

Bill was the most kind hearted selfless person I knew. Always there for his friends and family. There was never a time he didn't put others before himself. Anyone could depend on Bill for anything in the world. He was the kind of person people were so grateful to have in their life and I was so lucky to have him in mine. His daughter was his world and he always spoke of her with sparkle in his eyes. He took pride in being a father everyday. Madelynn was his world. Such an amazing man who I now look to as my hero for courageously saving our beautiful daughters life."

She flew to Jacksonville to be with her daughter and said she is making arrangements for a funeral for Moritz in Detroit.

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