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Man Mourns Wife Who Died After Being Impaled by Beach Umbrella: 'She Was One of a Kind'

·2 min read

A man is speaking out following the death of his wife, who suffered chest trauma after being impaled by an umbrella at the beach.

Tammy Perreault, a 63-year-old woman from Surfside Beach, South Carolina, was struck on Wednesday afternoon at Garden City Beach, reported NBC News. At the time she was with her husband, Mike Perreault, and four friends.

"It was a regular breezy day," Mike told the outlet. "No other umbrellas or beach blankets or anything got foiled."

Sherry White, one of the friends who was at the beach that day, told NBC station WMBF-TV "a gust of wind that came through took an umbrella through the air and it just kept going and going."

"Everyone says, 'Duck,' and we did, but unfortunately she was in the line of fire," added White.

Mike told NBC News that the umbrella "went through her arm into her rib cage."

Tammy Gilman- Perreault
Tammy Gilman- Perreault

Facebook Tammy Perreault

RELATED: 'Kindhearted' South Carolina Woman, 63, Dies After Being Impaled by Beach Umbrella

In a statement obtained by PEOPLE, Horry County officials acknowledged "the tragic death of a local beachgoer," who was sitting on the beach when an "umbrella became airborne and struck" her.

"This is a terrible loss, and we know our community is hurting," wrote Horry County Emergency Management spokesperson Thomas Bell.

"We understand a number of good Samaritans and off-duty medical professionals did provide initial care to the victim on the beach," Bell added in the statement. "Their actions to offer comfort and first aid are honorable and appreciated."

Tammy, who was taken to a local emergency room, died from chest trauma less than an hour after being struck, Chief Deputy Coroner Tamara Willard told NBC News.

Willard did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

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Mike was married to Tammy for 27 years and told NBC News that she had recently retired at the age of 62.

"She was one of a kind," he told the outlet. "Tammy loved everybody, she never had a bad word for anybody at all."

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Tammy was also remembered for her "great" love for her husband.

"She always put others first and her husband and her were inseparable," White told WMBF-TV. "If you saw Mike, you saw Tammy. They had a great passion and love for each other."

A GoFundMe has been created by Tammy's family.

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Horry County is investigating the incident.

"Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the victim as they navigate through this difficult time," officials said in a statement.