Singer Amir Fryszer Guttman dies at 41 after drowning incident
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Singer Amir Fryszer Guttman dies at 41 after drowning incident

Entertainer succumbs after being pulled from water following rescue of niece who was swept away at sea during celebration to mark new lease on life

Israeli singer Amir Fryszer Guttman, February 6, 2017, (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90 )
Israeli singer Amir Fryszer Guttman, February 6, 2017, (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90 )

The singer and director Amir Fryszer Guttman died on Sunday, a day after his near-lifeless body was pulled from choppy water as he saved his niece from drowning. He was 41.

Guttman’s death capped a tragic period for the entertainer who had been misdiagnosed with cancer. His outing to the beach with friends and family on Saturday was supposed to be a celebration of his new lease on life.

The hospital announced his death Sunday after earlier saying that despite all efforts, there was no hope of recovery.

“To our sorrow, despite intense efforts, he died of a multiple organ failure,” said Dr. Yaron Bar Lavi of Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center. He never regained consciousness.”

The family of the former Hi Five band member was at his bedside when he died.

Earlier, the deputy director of the hospital, Mickey Halbertal, told the media that, “After a few more tests this morning, we have exhausted our practical therapeutic abilities. There is nothing more we can do to help him. At this moment his family is together with him. There is no chance he will recover.”

Guttman was rushed to hospital in critical condition Saturday after he nearly drowned while attempting to rescue his niece, who was drifting away in the ocean off the Neve Yam beach in Atlit.

Guttman’s niece, 9, was pulled out of the water safely by a group of surfers and required no medical assistance, Ynet reported.

Guttman and his family were at the beach, which had no lifeguard services, to celebrate the first anniversary of the date on which doctors informed him that he had been misdiagnosed with cancer, and that in fact, he actually had a much less severe disease.

“Amir entered the water with his niece Shachar and another friend Yael. Within moments they began drifting away,” said singer Michal Amdursky, a close personal friend of Guttman who was with him at the beach. “Amir held Shachar above water so that she wouldn’t drown. He was utterly fatigued. My husband Jeffrey and two other surfers went into the ocean to rescue him. The ocean was harsh, and did not allow them to reach the coast quickly. Amir swallowed a lot of water.”

Singer Aviv Geffen, also a friend of Guttman, took to Twitter to show solidarity with the former performer. “My thoughts and heart are with Amir Fryszer Guttman,” Geffen wrote. “I hope you overcome the waves.”

In March 2016, Guttman was diagnosed by doctors at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital as suffering from non-Hodgkin lymphoma, but three months later, after undergoing several chemotherapy sessions, he was told by staff at the medical center that he did not, in fact, have cancer.

Earlier this month, Guttman filed a NIS 5 million ($1.4 million) financial lawsuit against Ichilov Hospital over the misdiagnosis.

In the 1990s, Guttman and the other members of the boy band Hi Five dominated Israel’s music charts, and the group’s hits, such as Yom Me’unan (Cloudy Day), Z’man Mesiba (Party Time) and Tzo’eket Ahava (Screaming Love), played repeatedly on local radio stations. The band broke up in 2000, but last year announced that it would reunite. However, after Guttman was misdiagnosed with cancer and due to poor ticket sales, a reunion tour was canceled.

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