'I use pride to repress my sadness': Widow of Thai navy SEAL who died during the cave rescue honours his sacrifice

Linh Pham/Getty ImagesMembers of the armed forces stand a salute as the body of Saman Kunan (38), former Thai navy Seal who died is flown back to his hometown in Roi Et on July 06, 2018 in Chiang Rai, Thailand.
  • The widow of a former Thai navy SEAL who died during a rescue mission to save a soccer team trapped in a cave has spoken about the love they shared.
  • She recalled that her husband said they would never know when they will die, “so we need to cherish every day.”
  • Saman Gunan died from a lack of oxygen while volunteering on the cave rescue mission.
  • His family and former colleagues have praised him as a charitable and adventurous man.

The widow of Saman Gunan, a former Thai navy SEAL who died during the mission to save 12 boys and their coach from a cave, has spoken about her loss.

Gunan died around 1 a.m. on Friday after placing oxygen tanks through the cave where a Thai soccer team had become trapped. Sadly the former SEAL, who had left in 2006 but returned as a volunteer on the rescue mission, ran out of oxygen himself as he navigated the treacherous cave.

His widow, Waleeporn Gunan told the BBC how much she adored her “lovely” husband and that he was “the hero of my heart.”

“Every morning before he left for work, we said we loved each other. At midday, we’d text each other to see if the other had had lunch,” Waleeporn said.

“Saman once said we would never know when we would die. We can’t control that so we need to cherish every day,” she said. “It’s like I’m dead but I’m alive. But I use pride to repress my sadness. He’s been praised as a hero because of who he was. So I use pride to help deal with my sorrow.”

Gunan’s father also told the BBC he was very proud of his son’s sacrifice but also “very sad too” because he had lost his “beloved son.”

Gunan has been praised by his widow and former Thai navy SEALs colleagues as a man who loved to do charity work, triathlons, and adventurous sports.

In a tribute to Gunan, The SEALs posted on Facebook that they would “accomplish this mission as you had wished.” On Tuesday evening as they rescued the last four soccer players and their coach, they did just that.

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