Will Friend, Bisnow CEO, Dies in Lightning Strike Off North Carolina Coast

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Bisnow CEO Will Friend died at the age of 33 after being struck by lightning off the North Carolina coast on Sunday, according to reports.

But Wilmington, N.C.-based WECT reported that Friend was on a boat off Masonboro Island when he was struck by lightning. Civilians on the  island flagged down the authorities and emergency responders moved him to an ambulance. Emergency workers attempted to resuscitate Friend for 20 minutes before he was pronounced dead, according to the local station.

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Bisnow, a commercial real estate media organization, confirmed Friend’s death in a story.

“What made Will special was his innate ability to inspire and motivate people — to raise people higher than they thought possible,” Bisnow COO and CFO Gregg Mayer said in a statement. “That is the culture he fostered at Bisnow and, ultimately, that will be his lasting legacy.”

Friend was born in London and moved to the U.S. when he was 15. He rose to the position of CEO of Bisnow in 2014 after meeting Ryan Begelman, co-founder and former CEO of Bisnow. Friend was hired at the company out of college in 2010 and helped guide the media company through its 2016 sale to private equity firm the Wicks Group, according to The Real Deal, which first reported news of Friend’s death.

“Will was a trusted partner, executive and a friend. He approached every opportunity and challenge with extreme confidence and optimism which was infectious to everyone surrounding him,” Wicks Group managing partner Daniel Kortick said in a statement. “We mourn the loss of such a quality human being and we will miss Will and all that he brought to the world.”

Under Friend’s leadership, Bisnow expanded its presence significantly to more than 50 markets across the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Ireland, TRD reported. He was also known as a self-taught pilot, deep-sea diver and an Ironman triathlete.

Friend is survived by his wife, Bevin Prince, 39, who starred on “One Tree Hill” in 2004. The two were married in 2016 and lived in Wrightsville Beach, N.C., according to the New York Post.

Mark Hallum can be reached at mhallum@commercialobserver.com.