26-year-old dies from complications after near-drowning at Oceanfront

Posted at 12:14 PM, Aug 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-06 17:46:23-04

Note: The video above was reported before Ali Shaikh's tragic death.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Ali Shaikh was a bright young man. At only 26 years old, he had a thriving career as a software development engineer and was a loving son, brother and friend.

"He's kind of a dreamer in some ways. He's always keeping up on what the world is like and how he can use his skills to impact the world, and I think at this point he's really done some amazing things," said his roommate and best friend, Alexander Donley.

He nearly drowned in the ocean by 9th Street while visiting Virginia Beach over the weekend and on August 6 family members said he passed away.

Alex, who was with him on the trip, said he didn't see exactly what happened in the water, but he turned around to find Ali on the sand receiving chest compressions.

"I thought to myself that I needed to be in a position where I could calmly provide information to paramedics and police officers to give his [medical] history," Donley said.

According to police, Virginia Beach Emergency Communications received a call for service for an adult male in cardiac arrest on the beach at 9th Street around 5 p.m. Police, EMS personnel and lifeguards responded and provided life-saving services to the victim.

An investigation suggests there may be other medical factors that led to him going unconscious in the water.

Ali's cousin, Manaahil Rao, said in a GoFundMe post that he was pulled "into the water by the strong tides. His heart stopped beating, and he needed resuscitation for almost an hour before he was moved to a local hospital. Even when his heartbeat came back, he suffered multiple cardiac arrests, a seizure, brain swelling, and a spine fracture."

The 26-year-old was in the hospital in critical condition for many days.

Donley said "they ran some CT scans on him and found that there was some damage to his neck area. They said there was inflammation in his brain."

Medical bills for treatment were expensive for Ali's mother, so his family started the GoFundMe to transfer him closer to home, to a university hospital near Northern Virginia.

Rao told News 3, "Ali is one of the brightest and most compassionate souls anyone can have the privilege of knowing. Not only is he an extremely talented individual with an incredibly respectful and humble demeanor, but he is also someone who would do anything for others. His kindness knew no bounds and no matter how much he had on his plate, he always had room in his schedule and space in his heart to help someone in need. Whether it was building a computer system for his baby cousin or constantly checking in on struggling friends and family, he was always there for every and anyone he knew. We kindly ask everyone to consider donating and share his gofundme and his story. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers, he is a beautiful soul that reminds us of humanity and love."

In a moment where anything can happen Donley said to make sure you tell the people that you love, that you love them because life is fragile.

Ali's tragic incident is also a reminder to be careful in the water and aware of your surroundings.

If you would like to help Ali's family, click here for the GoFundMe.