One day into a six-month working holiday Russell Liston was lying lifeless in an American hospital bed.
On June 1, the intensive care paramedic, who dedicated his career to saving others, died after falling from his second floor Santa Monica, California, hostel balcony.
His father, Brian Liston, 59, told the Sunday Mail he was proud knowing Russell continued to save lives after he had died by donating his organs to up eight people. "There's got to be some good come out of it, and I'm very proud that he donated his organs," Mr Liston said.
Russell, an adventurer and keen mountain bike rider, was on his first US stop before working and travelling in Canada for six months.
His mother, Susan Terpelle, 60, said all his friends knew of Russell's love affair with Canada.
"It's just so sad that he never even got up to Canada," she said.
Russell, 34, spent the weeks before he left Adelaide studying to take exams in Canada in an effort to get a job and visa there, and stay longer.
He had travelled to Queensland after the floods with an SA Ambulance team, volunteering to help clean houses on his days off.
Mr Liston said it was a mystery as to what happened when Russell returned to his room alone about 2am on May 31, but he somehow fell from the balcony, in what the coroner ruled was a tragic accident.
Russell's colleagues Nathan Parks and Chris Bonnici were waiting for a flight to LA from New York at the end of their own holiday when they heard of Russell's accident.
On their arrival, they went directly to the hospital and spent the next two days with Russell, holding his hand and reading him messages from Australia posted on Facebook. "There was no decision to be made about whether we would go," Mr Bonnici said.
"I wouldn't be able to cope if it were my relative in hospital on the other side of the world with no one there."
"It's one of the greatest honours and privileges to be able to do that for a family in their greatest hour of need," Mr Parks said. "We're just lucky we could do what we did for Russell and his family."
Ms Terpelle said she was glad Russell had someone with him until Mr Liston arrived in Los Angeles.
"One of the things that broke my heart was I wasn't there," she said. "They took a mother's place to be by her child's bedside. He was so far away and he didn't have his mum or dad there."
Ms Terpelle said her son had a "naughty" sense of humour and an infectious smile.
Just hours before the accident, Russell's brother Adrian asked him to be the guardian for his son - due to be born in August - should anything happen to him and his wife.
"He has the type of values I hope our son grows up to have," Adrian said. "If our son grows up to be like Russell, I would be very proud of him."Russell will be given a full service funeral by SA Ambulance.