UPDATE: Ellen DeGeneres has released a statement on the tragic accident to Us Weekly:
“I’ve been speaking with Cherilyn. And my staff has been in touch with her as well. She’s asked us to help keep this private as she tries to deal with this unimaginable tragedy. I hope everyone respects that.”
When Cherilyn McGraw won a vacation last January while attending The Ellen DeGeneres Show, she probably wasn’t thinking that it would end in tragedy, but that’s just what ended up happening after a skydiving attempt gone wrong.
McGraw, a special education teacher from North Carolina is currently mourning the loss of her recently deceased husband, Sgt. Brandon McGraw, who perished in a skydiving accident in Australia last weekend. Last Saturday Cherilyn and her husband headed to Euroa Skydive in Australia, which is a skydiving school, and then made their plans to go up and jump.
McGraw, who was trained in skydiving, had just recently returned from Afghanistan, as reported by The Daily News. According to employee Ian Matthews, McGraw was so experienced that he had more than “a few jumps under his belt.” He continued having said, “McGraw watched his wife do a tandem jump before exiting the plane. He floated for three or four minutes with a good canopy.”
Unfortunately, things went awry for Brandon McGraw. The witness went on to explain the scene minutes before he died:
“A short time before landing, he suddenly began turning his parachute dramatically to the left and right and eventually crashed into the ground.”
By the time paramedics arrived, McGraw was already in cardiac arrest, and according to various reports he couldn’t be resuscitated and died at the scene. His wife, Cherilyn, took to Facebook, which has since been deleted, to mourn the loss and also honor her husband by posting messages of thanks.
“My hero. My angel. These are truly such symbolic photos. He was happy and doing what he loved. It’s amazing all that photos can capture in a moments time. The last 2 photos taken. I love you more than anything in the world, honey. You are the most amazing man.”
McGraw’s wife posted to her Facebook to thank those for their support.
“I just want to say that this stupid Facebook has been my saving grace this week. I’m beyond honored and words will never be able to express my gratitude for all the love, support and prayers. You all have kept me SO strong. I am in mission mode to get us back to the USA. We cannot wait to get home. (I don’t know when we’ll be home and I won’t be sharing when We get home so please don’t ask.)”
So far no one from The Ellen DeGeneres Show has commented on the tragic death.