'Loss' of Man Who Died During Underwater Proposal to Girlfriend Is 'Unbearable'
Steven Weber's family has since organized a GoFundMe page to help cover his return and burial expenses
The family of the Louisiana man who died while proposing underwater to his girlfriend is opening up about their “unbearable” loss as they raise money to help cover his return and burial expenses.
A GoFundMe page organized by Steven Weber’s sister Mandy Hoffman and the Zachary High School Class of 1997 has so far raised more than $8,000, just days after Weber died in Tanzania while popping the question to girlfriend Kenesha Antoine.
The page notes that Weber’s family needs help covering the costs to bring his body home to the United States.
“As you can imagine, this is beyond tragic, and the loss is unbearable for all who loved him,” it reads.
Weber’s family also issued a statement through the page, recalling his bright eyes and “infectious” smile.
“We lost this beautiful soul on Thursday, September 19, 2019. He was with the love of his life, doing what he loved in life – adventure,” the statement read. “Words cannot express the void that now exists in the hearts of everyone he loved and who loved him. His beautiful eyes and infections smile will stay with us forever.”
Antoine shared a link to the GoFundMe page on Facebook, and wrote that she was on her way home as Weber’s family dealt with getting him back to the U.S.
“I am in transit home, while his family is back home dealing with the complicated logistics of bringing a deceased American citizen back to the States,” she wrote. “Thank you to the Zachary High Class of 1997 for doing this [GoFundMe], and thank you for all of your love and support!”
She also wrote in the comments section of the post that Weber’s death “still just feels so surreal.”
Antoine and Weber were staying at the Manta Resort on a trip to Tanzania when Weber proposed to her on Thursday by swimming outside one of the windows of their underwater room.
Antoine shared a video of him swimming up to the window and unfurling a handwritten declaration of love before opening a ring box.
“I can’t hold my breath long enough to tell you everything I love about you BUT…everything I love about you I love more every day!” the note read. “Will you please be my WIFE? Marry Me???”
She can be heard excitedly accepting the proposal in the video, but Weber did not live long enough to celebrate the good news with her.
“You never emerged from those depths, so you never got to hear my answer, ‘Yes! Yes! A million times, yes, I will marry you!!’ ” she wrote in her emotional post.
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“We never got to embrace and celebrate the beginning of the rest of our lives together, as the best day of our lives turned into the worst, in the cruelest twist of fate imaginable,” she said. ”I will try to take solace in the fact that we enjoyed the most amazing bucket list experiences these past few days, and that we both were so happy and absolutely giddy with excitement in our final moments together.”
The CEO of the Manta Resort confirmed Weber’s death in a statement, and said he was free diving alone when he drowned.
“Our sincerest condolences, thoughts and prayers are with his girlfriend, families and friends impacted by this tragic accident,” Matthew Saus said in a statement to PEOPLE. “A male guest tragically drowned while free diving alone outside the underwater room. The weather and water conditions were calm. The underwater room lies approx. 300 meters offshore. The depth of the water around the underwater room is 10 meters.”