Canadian climber dies on Everest

A 63-year-old Canadian attempting to become the oldest Canadian to climb to the summit of Mount Everest died Friday on the mountain.

A 63-year-old Ottawa man attempting to become the oldest Canadian to climb to the summit of Mount Everest died Friday on the mountain.

Dr. Sean Egan died before noon local time after leaving Everest's base camp on his way to a lower altitude. He had been suffering from a respiratory infection and was going to seek medical help.

It's believed he suffered a cardiac arrest, said a news release from Tim Redpath, a spokesperson for the expedition.

A professor of human kinetics, Egan had been leading a team of about 20 Canadian climbers from Ryerson University and the University of Ottawa.

Egan was an experienced climber and self-described fitness fanatic. It was his third trip to the mountain, and was to be his first summit attempt.

His friend Terry Kell called Egan a role model for people trying to live an active, fit and full life.

"It's a very tragic event but he was doing something he loved. He was in his element," Kell told CBC Newsworld.

The body's immune system weakens due to the lack of oxygen in the air, he said. Egan and his mountain guide, or sherpa, were not feeling well and were trying to move down the mountain to the "thicker air" to recuperate, said Kell.