CHICAGO — Chicago's sailing community mourned the loss of Luke Condic this weekend, who died while aboard a yacht racing in the Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta Friday.
Condic, 56, is remembered by his fellow crew members as a highly skilled and able-bodied sailor and loving friend, who was with 11-12 others aboard the ship on the dreary day when he suffered a heart attack, according to witnesses.
"It seemed it took whatever strength he had left to ensure he was in a safe place on the boat," said one witness who said she had known Condic, who lived in Armour Square, for several years through the racing community.
Another crew member, who radioed for assistance when Condic fell ill, said that a doctor who was on another yacht in the race was transported via rescue boat to administer CPR as the rest of the crew worked to keep the boat under control.
"We've been sailing a long time, and weathered many storms," he said. "[Luke] had this incredibly infectious smile, a huge heart."
Both witnesses praised the other sailors in the race and the race organizers for banding together to assist them.
"Whenever something like this happens it's upsetting to the sailing community," said the woman who knew Condic several years. "Luke was a beloved sailor, one of a kind, one of the gentlest, kindest people out there."
After the rescue boat took Condic ashore, an ambulance rushed him to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
In a memorial written by his nieces, Condic was remembered as "beloved fiancé and friend of Sheila Messer," who were soul mates for 22 years.
"His piercing blue eyes, dimples, and charming good looks often had him mistaken for a celebrity but then again he was a celebrity to all who knew him," they wrote.
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