A Perth man who travelled to Africa on a solo preaching tour has died from injuries suffered when he was violently attacked while walking to the shops from his hotel in Malawi.
Geoff Freind, 60, had taken leave from his job as a Salvation Army major to undertake the journey.
After the attack last weekend, Mr Freind was flown to Johannesburg, where he is in a critical condition in an induced coma.
Salvation Army divisional commander major Neil Venables said Mr Freind’s wife and four sons had flown to South Africa to be by his side.
“The Salvation Army is deeply saddened and greatly concerned for the wellbeing of Major Geoff Freind,” Mr Venables said.
“Geoff is a well known personality. Energetic, passionate and very warm in nature and drawn to people in his network of ministry right across Perth.”
Mr Venables said it was not known what motivated the attack.
“I think this was just a random attack,” Mr Venables said.
Our prayers are with Major Geoff Freind, his family and the doctors taking care of him in South Africa. https://t.co/y9MqYXfen3
— Salvation Army USA (@SalvationArmyUS) September 20, 2016
Mr Freind and his wife Lyn have served the Salvation Army for 34 years in Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and more recently, Western Australia, where he worked at Morley Community Services.
“He would be really well known for having the ability to come alongside the local guy in the local pub and just to engage in life,” Mr Venables said.
“He has impacted many thousands of people in many walks of life.”