A Vancouver man with family ties to the B.C. Interior is being remembered online after he was found dead in Laos.
Jesse Preston was supposed to return to Canada on Feb. 16, 2017 after a six-week trip in southeast Asia. The same day he was set to return home, his body was found by authorities in Vang Vieng, Laos.
While details were scarce at first and his family struggled to find answers, it is believed a bad infection took his life as he was unable to receive the same kind of medical care he would have in Canada.
A warning, according to his cousin, to others who travel overseas.
Preston, 36, was raised on Gabriola Island and lived in Vancouver working as an audio engineer
“It is with great sadness to be writing this,” reads the GoFundMe.
“Jesse was a loving son, brother, cousin, uncle and friend. Jesse had a laugh that we all will never forget, one that got you laughing just as hard along with him.
“He was always so positive, as if nothing could knock him down. He always had a way of getting everyone together and included everyone he could in his plans.”
Family members say Preston lived his life to the fullest and made everyday a fun and exciting one.
“He would give you his last shirt, if you needed it. Jesse had an undeniable thirst for travel. He worked hard, so he could play hard on his trips. We all loved watching his photos and videos of what he was up to on the other side of the world.”
He reportedly had a travel companion with him near the end of his life, helping to keep him comfortable.
There will be a Buddhist ceremony overseas prior to returning his ashes home to Canada.
As he was a proud Vancouver resident and loved the English Bay area, his family his now fundraising to bring his body back to Canada and to have a memorial bench erected in his name.
“We are crowdfunding to help cover the expenses incurred for his memorial and bringing him home which is approximately $5,000,” reads the GoFundMe.
“We also want to purchase a Memorial Bench to put in English Bay. Hopefully across the street from his place or near his favourite BBQ spot. A 10-year dedication costs $4,000 and a lifetime dedication is $25,000.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, the GoFundMe had raised $6,900.
“He has many many friends…a very loved young man,” said his cousin Sean Heddle, who lives in Kelowna.
“I think the last thing he said publicly couldn’t have been better. I like to believe he was at that point when he passed away. ‘Im on top of the world’.”