One Tree Hill star Bevin Prince’s British husband died after being struck by lightning near their home in Wilmington, North Carolina, over the weekend.
William Friend, 33, was on a boat with friends near Masonboro Island on Sunday, July 3, when he was struck, according to WECT News,
Emergency responders attempted to revive him, but he was pronounced dead in the ambulance, the outlet reports. His death came just one week before what would have been his 34th birthday.
Prince, 39, who played cheerleader Bevin Mirskey in One Tree Hill from 2004 to 2012, married Friend in 2016. They celebrated their sixth wedding anniversary on May 21.
One Tree Hill star Bevin Prince’s husband tragically died over the weekend after being struck by lightning near their home in Wilmington, North Carolina; Prince and Friend seen in 2020
Emergency responders attempted to revive Friend, but he was later pronounced dead in the ambulance, the outlet reports; Bevin Prince seen in 2008
Masonboro Island is a barrier island that is only accessible from the mainland by boat, and is a popular destination for boating, surfing and camping. Due to its geography in North Carolina, thunderstorms occur regularly in Spring and Summer
Known for: Prince famously starred as Bevin Mirskey on the hit CW series One Tree Hill
It was the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office’s Marine Unit, as well as Wilmington Police Department’s Marine Unit, who responded to the incident on Sunday after being flagged down by civilians.
Deputies reached Friend and performed CPR on him while en route to Bradley Creek Marina to meet EMS.
After moving Friend over to an ambulance, the emergency responders ‘attempted to resuscitate him for 20 minutes’ before pronouncing him dead.
Friend’s body was then transported to a local hospital, where EMS met with family.
During the COVID pandemic, Prince and Friend moved to Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, from New York City to be closer to their family.
Prince’s best friend, Odette Annable, paid tribute to the actress’ late husband in a post shared to Instagram on Wednesday.
‘The unimaginable has happened and we have to say goodbye to another friend, @britwilliam. My best friend @bevinaprince beloved husband. Will, it feels surreal writing this,’ began the You Again star, who included a snapshot of Friend.
She continued: ‘Mostly because it feels like you were just getting started. The life and love that you gave to my best friend made it feel okay that we were thousands of miles apart.
‘As I sit in your beautiful home, looking out onto the ocean, I keep thinking about what a gift you gave to Bevin. What a gift you gave to everyone who knew you to witness the passion that burned in your soul. The passion to help people, to build your business, to find happiness like I’d never seen from you living in North Carolina with Bevin.’
She described Friend as being ‘perfect’ for Prince ‘in every way’ and that he always ‘supported her dreams’ and ‘adored her with every bit of your soul.’
Odette said she was with Prince at the time of writing the post and that she’d been ‘hearing her share stories about you and your love breaks my heart for her, because she lost the love of her life and the world lost a really really good one.’
Pictured: Bevin Prince (left) is seen with her husband William Friend in an Instagram post
According to WECT News, 33-year-old William Friend was on a boat with friends near Masonboro Island on Sunday, July 3, when he was struck; Prince seen in February
Gone too soon: His death came just one week before what would have been his 34th birthday
Marriage: Bevin, 39, and Friend married in 2016. They celebrated their sixth wedding anniversary on May 21; Prince pictured in 2021
She continued: ‘I know you will still be with her and your gorgeous brothers and family the Prince family, and we will all feel you spreading your light and beauty through everyone who was fortunate enough to know you.
‘At only 33 years old, you did it, and you went out like no other in a blaze of glory. May you Rest In Peace you charming, witty, beautiful British man who loved the sh** out of America. I love you,’ Odette wrote.
She concluded the lengthy tribute by encouraging her ‘friends and family on social media’ to donate to several causes that Friend ‘believed in with his heart.
‘One of them being the business @recessbybevinprince that he built alongside his wife and my best friend @bevinaprince. Bevin and the women in her company have worked so hard to keep this dream going and all he would have wanted was to see them continue to succeed,’ Odette penned.
Tribute: Prince’s best friend, Odette Annable, paid tribute to the actress’ late husband in a post shared to Instagram on Wednesday
Donating to causes: Odette included a link to a GoFundMe page launched by one of the Prince family members, which has since garnered over $34,000 of its $50,000 goal
Donations will also be given to the Special Operators Transition Foundation, which was founded by decorated combat veteran Robert J. O’Neill and is dedicated to supporting Special Operations heroes and their families
Odette included a link to a GoFundMe page launched by one of the Prince family members, which has since garnered over $34,000 of its $50,000 goal.
‘Thank you so much for all of your support during this time. I love you all,’ the House star concluded.
Masonboro Island is a barrier island that is only accessible from the mainland by boat, and is a popular destination for boating, surfing and camping. Due to its geography in North Carolina, thunderstorms occur regularly in Spring and Summer.
Safety experts said Friend’s tragic death is a reminder of the dangers of being out on the water or in open spaces when a storm rolls in.
Captain Ryan Saporito with Sea Tow Wrightsville Beach, who was helping other boats during Sunday’s storm, told WECT: ‘There’s really no safe place on a boat’ in a storm.
John Jensenius with the National Lightning Safety Council told the outlet that being on the water during a storm can be deadly.
‘Some people think that there’s some protection just based on a little bit of metal, but really there isn’t when you consider that lightning gets into the metal systems of your boat and you’re very close to those. So really very little protection, especially if you’re an open boat,’ he said.
Friend, who was originally from London, moved to the US at 15 against the wishes of his parents. During high school, he showed his entrepreneurial side by becoming a club promoter.
‘I just fell in love with America — I could feel the American Dream,’ Friend told real estate investor Chris Powers in a 2019 podcast.
Friend served as CEO of the company Bisnow, a business-to-business platform that serves the commercial real estate industry, for the past seven years.
In a statement issued Wednesday, Bisnow’s COO and CFO Gregg Mayer paid tribute to the late entrepreneur and the impact he had on the company.
CEO: Friend served as CEO of the company Bisnow , a business-to-business platform that serves the commercial real estate industry, for the past seven years
Passion project: He and his wife Prince launched the outdoor cycling studio, Recess by Bevin Prince, in Wilmington in November 2020 after making the move to North Carolina from New York amid the COVID-19 pandemic
‘What made Will special was his innate ability to inspire and motivate people — to raise people higher than they thought possible. That is the culture he fostered at Bisnow and, ultimately, that will be his lasting legacy,’ Mayer’s statement read.
Friend came to know Bisnow as a company after meeting Ryan Begelman, co-founder and former CEO of Bisnow, at an event in Dallas.
Begelman invited Friend to Washington D.C. so that he could learn about the company. Friend stayed on an air mattress in Begelman’s apartment for what they thought would be a week – but Friend became his roommate for a year.
Friend began working at Bisnow as an intern in 2010 and was eventually named the company’s COO in 2013. Two years later, he’d take over the position of CEO at the age of 27.
He and his wife Prince launched the outdoor cycling studio, Recess by Bevin Prince, in Wilmington in November 2020 after making the move to North Carolina from New York amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prince famously starred as Bevin Mirskey on the hit CW series One Tree Hill. She appeared in 41 episodes throughout the show’s first five seasons, as well as season nine.