William Friend, husband of One Tree Hill star Bevin Prince, has died aged 33 after being struck by lightning.
Friend was on a boat near Masonboro Island in North Carolina during a thunderstorm when he was struck.
According to local news station WECT-TV, paramedics attempted to resuscitate Friend for 20 minutes but he was pronounced dead in the ambulance.
John Jensenius of the National Lightning Safety Council issued a warning about being on the water during a thunderstorm following the death.
“We recommend getting as far away from water as possible but, to be honest, if you’re in the water or if you’re on the beach, you’re very exposed to the lightning threat,” Jensenius told WECT-TV. According to the council, it’s the third lightning-related death in the US this year.
Prince, 39, and Friend married in 2016. The pair celebrated their sixth wedding anniversary last month.
Prince has yet to comment publicly on the death, but her friend, You Again star Odette Annable, shared a tribute via Instagram on Wednesday (6 July).
“The unimaginable has happened and we have to say goodbye to another friend, @britwilliam. My best friend @bevinaprince beloved husband,” Annable wrote alongside a series of images featuring Prince, Friend, and their dog Winston.
“Will, it feels surreal writing this. Mostly because it feels like you were just getting started. The life and love that you gave to my best friend made it feel okay that we were thousands of miles apart,” she continued.
“As I sit in your beautiful home, looking out onto the ocean, I keep thinking about what a gift you gave to Bevin. What a gift you gave to everyone who knew you to witness the passion that burned in your soul.”
On Friend’s death, she added: “At only 33 years old, you did it, and you went out like no other in a blaze of glory. May you Rest In Peace you charming, witty, beautiful British man who loved the s*** out of America. I love you.”
Annable also urged people to donate to a GoFundMe established for Friend’s memorial fund, which has already raised over $35,000 (£29,000) at the time of writing.
Money donated will go towards Friend’s business, Recess, and the Special Operators Transition Foundation, which offers transitional services and family stabilisation support to veterans.
Prince’s representatives did not immediately respond to The Independent’s request for comment.
The actor played Bevin Mirskey in One Tree Hill, a major recurring role from season one through four. She recently told Sophia Bush and Hilarie Burton’s Drama Queens podcast that she made “$75 a day for 16-to-18-hour days” while working on the show.