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9/11 Survivor Loses His Life in a Valiant Attempt to Save Kids Tubing in Water

Laidley lost his life on the Fourth of July while boating on Lake Michigan. He was a father of three and a 9/11 survivor who is being honored as a "true family man" and "hero."
Cover Image (Representative), Source:  Getty Images |Chris McGrath
Cover Image (Representative), Source: Getty Images |Chris McGrath

Luke Laidley, a 9/11 survivor, and father of three, tragically passed away on the 4th of July in a boating accident near Winnetka, Illinois. According to a spokesperson for the village of Winnetka, Illinois, where the accident occurred, Laidley, 43, had jumped into the water to save children who were tubing, as reported by ABC News. Sadly, he encountered difficulties while swimming and ultimately drowned. Despite efforts to revive him, including CPR and advanced life support provided by Winnetka Firemedics, Laidley could not be saved and passed away at a local hospital.

Smoke pours from the twin towers of the World Trade Center after they were hit by two hijacked airliners in a terrorist attack September 11, 2001 in New York City. Source: Robert Giroux | Getty Images
Smoke pours from the twin towers of the World Trade Center after they were hit by two hijacked airliners in a terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, in New York City. Source: Robert Giroux | Getty Images

As stated in his obituary, Laidley is survived by his spouse and three young children, aged 7, 5, and 3. A young 21-year-old Laidley experienced a life-changing event over twenty years ago. He happened to be on his second day of work as an employee at Morgan Stanley, situated on the 61st floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center when the buildings were targeted by hijacked planes. Having miraculously survived the attack, Laidley shared a powerful message, as stated in his obituary: "I encourage all of us to count our blessings daily. Give of yourself and expect nothing in return. And become part of something that is greater than yourself."


He is remembered as a "true family man to his core" in his obituary. Alongside his wife and children, he is also survived by five siblings, in-laws, and 17 nieces and nephews. The obituary describes him as someone whose smile could light up a room managing to display positivity and determination in all his endeavors consistently. His love was deep and genuine, coming straight from his heart. In his profession as a finance worker, Laidley made the conscious decision to be an organ donor, as noted by his family in the obituary. They highlight his belief in giving selflessly without expecting anything in return and his commitment to being part of something greater than oneself. Becoming an organ donor allows him to serve a greater cause, providing life-saving opportunities to others.


A funeral mass will be held on July 15 at a local Catholic church to honor and celebrate the life of Laidley. In his obituary, his wife and children expressed their heartfelt sentiments and invited friends and family to contribute their cherished memories of their beloved spouse and father. They affectionately refer to him as "our most favorite person" in the obituary. Furthermore, the family included a request in the obituary, encouraging others to share any encounters or experiences they may have that could be interpreted as signs from Luke in the future. They express their eagerness to hear about these occurrences and their daily anticipation of such signals. It comforts them that their beloved guardian angel is continuously watching over and guiding all of them.

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