'True Hero,' 20, Dies After Jumping in River Thames to Rescue Woman Who Fell From London Bridge

Rachel DeSantis
·3 min read

GoFundMe Folajimi Olubunmi-Adewole

A 20-year-old man is being praised as a "true hero" after he drowned in the River Thames while trying to rescue a woman who'd fallen from the London Bridge.

Folajimi Olubunmi-Adewole, who went by Jimi, was on his way home from work late Friday when he saw the woman in distress, and didn't hesitate to help, according to a GoFundMe page.

"Not thinking twice after calling the police, convinced he could do something to save her, he jumped in and drowned saving her," the page said. "This is to support the funeral and the rest [is] for post-funeral, as he was [a] hardworking college graduate who at 20 was the family's breadwinner."

A friend named Bernard told Sky News he was walking home with Jimi when the incident occurred, and that Jimi jumped into the pitch-black water alongside another Good Samaritan after hearing the woman call for help.

"That's how Jimi is — Jimi is pure at heart," Bernard said.

The BBC reported that the woman and the Good Samaritan were rescued by authorities, who were unable to locate Jimi. His body was reportedly found about six hours later on Saturday morning following an extensive search.

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"Jimi was a very nice, kind young man. He was the heart of our family," his father, Michael Adewola, told The Sun. "He would help anyone that needed it. I am proud of my son, he is amazing, but as a family we are devastated. We are just glad the woman is alive too."

Adewola told the outlet he's working to ensure his son's death is not in vain, and hopes to see him recognized for his bravery at some point in the future.

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"He is a hero, and always will be. I can't bring him back but I want him to be remembered forever for what he did. It was just like him to want to always try and help others," he said. "We want his life to mean something. It will always mean something to us, but he should be rewarded for the bravery he showed. He deserves a medal for what he did."

Jimi attended Harris Academy Peckham, and on Monday, students and staff held a two-minute commemorative clap in his honor, according to the BBC. (College in the United Kingdom is not the same as higher education, but is a two-year school that many students complete to prepare for university entrance exams.)

The school's executive principal Rebecca Hickey told the BBC that Jimi was "incredibly popular" among the student body.

"He was quite a character, he would never be seen without a smile. He was known for his slightly cheeky, optimistic outlook," she said. "Anyone who knew him remotely well would not have been surprised at the actions he took. He put others in front of himself at all times."

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Jimi's character was also recognized by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who wrote on Twitter that the late hero was "the best of us."

"A true hero of our city who gave his life trying to save another. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this time of tragic loss," he wrote.

A spokesperson for City of London Police did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.