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SEAL Team 8 commanding officer dies in training accident, former Navy Football teammates remember their friend

U.S. Naval Special Warfare Command said that Commander Brian Bourgeois was injured when he fell while fast-roping down from a helicopter. He died days later.

NORFOLK, Va. — A SEAL commander has died following a training accident in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Cmdr. Brian Bourgeois, 43, got hurt after he fell while fast-roping down from a helicopter on Saturday.

The cause of his fall is under investigation. A Navy official said it wasn’t clear if the rope separated from the aircraft.

Bourgeois was the commanding officer of SEAL Team 8, based out of JEB Little Creek.

He died Tuesday at Norfolk Sentara General Hospital.

He leaves behind a wife of 20 years, and five kids who range from 6-years-old to 18-years-old.

Credit: Bourgeois Family Intermediary

Rear Adm. H.W. Howard III is commander of Naval Special Warfare Command. He said Bourgeois “was one of our very best leaders, who possessed all the attributes that make our force effective.”

Bourgeois received his commission from the U.S. Naval Academy in May 2001. 

"He's always been a fighter, always been a leader out there on the field," said friend Daryl Hill. 

Hill and other football teammates from the academy reflected on the kind of leader and person Bourgeois was.

"You're around a lot of really tough people at the academy," said Matthew King.
"But 'Bouge' was really a unique combination of tough, but a truly caring and loving person."

Becoming a SEAL was always a dream of his. "It wasn’t something at first that Brian got a chance to do. You really have to fight for it," said Hill. And his dear friend did. 

Bourgeois served in the Navy and Naval Special Warfare community for more than 20 years. His career took him overseas and across the U.S.

Over the years, he earned a Bronze Star with Combat "V" and two Navy commendation medals — among many other awards.

The sobering news of Bourgeois' death is leaving his closest friends heartbroken.

"This really hits hard," said Mike McGee, also a former football teammate. 

Another friend, Brad Wimsatt, said "it’s just unimaginable, this tragedy."

"It's like we lost a family member," said former teammate Justin Jordan. 

Through their pain and grief, Bourgeois' friends are doing everything they can to honor his memory.

An intermediary told 13News Now that a foundation called All In All the Time is collecting donations for the family, on this webpage.

Bourgeois' friends and former football teammates are also fundraising on Facebook.

They will donate all the money wherever the family needs it.