Former Royal Navy sailor Paul Lebihan, 24, died on Monday evening, May 9, after getting into difficulties in the Bolulla river which has claimed the lives of three other people in the past month, Mail Online reports.
Lebihan, from Gateshead, was pulled unconscious from the water near a waterfall close to the popular beauty spot of Fuentes del Algar, a half-hour drive north of Benidorm.
The Briton had died whilst trying to save his dog, according to local reports, in an act that his family said shows how selfless he was. One of his Facebook pictures shows him cuddling up to his pet dog.
A police source confirmed after the drowning he had been swept away by the current.
A helicopter with firefighters, police and paramedics mobilised as part of the emergency response.
Efforts to revive the casualty failed and he was pronounced dead at the scene. Local reports said witnesses had tried to save him by performing CPR on him before professionals arrived to take over.
Appeal organiser Kallym Bell, Paul’s cousin, said: ‘Paul was an amazing, selfless man with a heart of gold, always the biggest laugh and the very best to be around.’
Lebihan’s friend Lee Garretto, who lives in Gateshead, added on Facebook: ‘Gutted to hear the sad news. RIP bro. Glad we got out to Spain last year and came to see you.
‘Top top lad with a heart of gold. Thoughts are with the family at this sad time. Keep that smile shining up there pal.’
His friend Lewis Thompson wrote: ‘Absolutely gutted writing this. All the laughs and memories we had together I’ll never forget.
‘You could enter any room and the place would light up. You were an absolute diamond. Love you brother.’
Grieving relative Lisa Lebihan said: ‘No words can describe how we are feeling. Absolutely devastated. Gone far too soon but never will be forgotten. RIP Paul son.’