A BRITISH charity worker been found dead in a swimming pool in Cambodia after he held his breath underwater and drowned.
Luke Walley, 27, who worked for the World Wildlife Fund, was discovered at a gym close to his home in Phnom Penh last week *which we can confirm as ‘The Place’.
It is believed the former grammar school student from Ilkley, West Yorks., passed away after blacking out underwater.
Luke’s parents, who are both university professors, said their family and friends were “totally devastated” by the news.
They added that he worked as a sustainable energy advocate and had been living in Cambodia with his Lithuanian wife Emilija for 17 months.
Luke’s dad, Professor John Walley, an expert in international public health at the University of Leeds, has paid a heartbreaking tribute to his son.
Prof Walley said: “Luke was a brilliant young man who died while working to improve global energy sustainability.
“He was a lovely, thoughtful, genuine, person who had his entire life ahead of him.”
Mr Walley and his wife Professor Sophie Witter, an expert in global health economics at Queen Margaret University, are still awaiting full details of their son’s death from Cambodian police.
However, they believe he suffered from ‘shallow water blackout’, which is a form of underwater fainting due to a lack of oxygen to the brain.
It’s usually caused by swimmers holding their breath for extended periods of time.
Prof Witter described Luke as “passionate about contributing to the environment and issues relating to developing countries”.
She added: “Everyone will miss Luke… he was a very special person, who touched the lives of all who met him.”
Luke was the eldest of four boys, including Sam, a 25-year-old lawyer, Danny, a 22-year-old medical student and history student Alfie, 20.
He completed a masters degree in physics at Imperial College London before moving to Cambodia with Emilija.
Prof Walley and Prof Witter said the Foreign Office in Phnom Penh had responsibility for co-coordinating the transfer of Luke’s body back to the UK. THE SUN