Friends of a young Illawarra man who drowned after going for a late night swim in hazardous surf on Monday evening have raised almost $20,000 on GoFundMe to help pay for the costs of his funeral.
Early morning walkers discovered the body of Brandan Garcia on North Beach just before 6.30am on Tuesday.
It is believed the 28-year-old had been out drinking with friends the night before when he went for a late night swim in hazardous surf conditions.
A GoFundMe page was set up by Corey Weaver on Wednesday to help Mr Gartia's family pay for his funeral.
"Yesterday, on the morning of the 11.2.20, we all woke up to the horrible news of the passing our best mate and family man, Brandan Garcia," Mr Weaver wrote.
"After losing their father Charlie Garcia in the recent past, now Brandan has finally the chance to have a beer with his old boy in peace, but leaving behind his loving family and friends to grieve his loss.
"As this was an unexpected passing, nobody is ready for the next stage emotionally or financially, and all I want and I'm sure all of his friends and family want also, is Brandan's family to focus on being strong....without having to worry about any expenses that come with this tough time.
"I've set this GoFundMe page up with the permission of loved ones, for all of his mates that ever shared friendship and a beer (or 100) with Brandan to....donate whatever we can to take away the burden of financial stress and will be all donated to the family for funeral costs."
As of 7.30pm on Friday, the GoPundMe page had been shared approximately 2,700 times and more than 200 people had made contributions totalling just under $19,500 - almost two thirds of the $30,000 goal.
Many friends left tributes to Mr Garcia in the comments, describing him as "a charismatic, funny guy" loved by all who knew him.
Nathan Clay wrote "RIP to one of the funniest blokes I've ever met, absolute legend."