Shark attack victim Tamayo Perry remembered by widow and friend

“It was like I was on the best 25-year vacation of my life with him.”

The widow and close friend of Tamayo Perry, a renowned surfer, actor and lifeguard, shared their heartfelt memories and reflections following his tragic death in a shark attack off the coast of Hawaii.

In an exclusive interview with ABC News on “Good Morning America” ​​on Wednesday, Emilia Perry spoke with sadness about the life and legacy of Tamayo Perry, a man celebrated for his deep faith and exceptional surfing talent.

“The world knew Tamayo as a surfer and actor, but to those who knew him best, he was a man of deep faith … now taken too soon,” Perry said. “I feel so upset and devastated. But I also have a strange peace in my heart, knowing he is in a better place.”

Perry was known for his roles in “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Blue Crush” and was a beloved figure in the community.

“It was like I was on the best 25-year vacation of my life with him. And now it’s over. Now I have to come back to reality,” Emilia told ABC News’ Matt Rivers in an interview.

Jesse King, a close friend and colleague, said Perry was familiar with the waters where he met his untimely end, and said he knew the area where he died like the back of his hand, paddling in the waters off Goat Island on Sunday as he did. always done.

‘There was nothing unusual that would indicate anything bad would happen to him, compared to anyone else. Just an ordinary day,” King recalled.

Perry’s death marks only the ninth fatal shark attack in Hawaii in the past three decades, but despite the tragedy, his friends believe Perry would have encouraged others to continue enjoying the ocean.

“For people who are surfers and avid ocean users, we do it because we love it,” King said.

Emilia, who shared more than two decades of her life with Perry, added that he always had a great impact on those around him.

King said he showed people “how to be a better person, how to love everyone when they are there, because you never know when they will be taken away from you again.”

Perry’s devout Christian faith remained a source of strength and comfort in his final days, even texting his family: “I can’t wait to meet the King. I’m excited. Not afraid. We need to pray, forgive and love. “

Perry, 49, had been a lifeguard with Honolulu Ocean Safety since 2016. He was a local surf coach and competed in the Pipeline Master Trials for many years, according to his official biography on his coaching site.