Ellen DeGeneres Reacts on Dream Australian Trip that Never Was

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By Athena Yenko | December 20, 2013 1:42 PM EST

On Dec 19, Ellen DeGeneres released a statement through US Weekly in the wake of death of US marine Gunnery Sergeant Brandon McGraw who won an Australian Trip through her show.

"I've been speaking with Cherilyn. And my staff has been in touch with her as well. She's asked us to help keep this private as she tries to deal with this unimaginable tragedy. I hope everyone respects that," Ms DeGeneres said.

Mr McGraw had just returned home from his third service in Afghanistan. His wife won a trip to Australia on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Mrs McGraw had intended the trip to Australia to be her gift for her husband.

Sadly, Mr McGraw died on Saturday while skydiving with Victoria's Euroa Skydive.

Mrs McGraw was with him during this supposedly dream trip but being experienced jumper, Mr McGraw took the jump solo. His parachute opened without problem. But then, he had somehow swerved left and right and then crashed to the ground. He suffered cardiac arrest eveb before the paramedics came to rescue.

Mrs McGraw posted a picture of them together on the plane before he took the jump.

"My hero. My angel. These are truly such symbolic photos. He was happy and doing what he loved. It's amazing all that photos can capture in a moments time. The last 2 photos taken. I love you more than anything in the world, honey. You are the most amazing man," Ms McGraw wrote on her Facebook account.

"I just want to say that this stupid Facebook has been my saving grace this week. I'm beyond honoured and words will never be able to express my gratitude for all the love, support and prayers. You all have kept me SO strong. I am in mission mode to get us back to the USA. We cannot wait to get home. (I don't know when we'll be home and I won't be sharing when We get home so please don't ask.)," Mrs McGraw's added.

"He was very friendly, open and a happy person. He loved the Marine Corps and what he was doing for the country. It's tragic. Death is tragic either way but I don't really have the words to express it. My feeling is if you make it home - I felt like it was safe after I made it home and I'm sure both of them felt the same way. We'll miss him," neighbor and friend William Sidberry told ABC News.

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