An Australian man who climbed Mount Everest after learning to walk again has died returning from the summit.

Jason Bernard Kennison died on Friday. His family said “he achieved his goal of reaching the top … he stood on top of this world but unfortunately he didn’t come home.”

The 40-year-old mechanic was part of an expedition run by Asian Trekking, whose managing director, Dawa Steven Sherpa, told the Himalayan Times that Kennison had begun to exhibit abnormal behavior from the south summit.

The two Sherpa guides with him helped him down to the balcony area which is 8,400 meters above sea level. The guides went down to Camp Four after Kennison refused to move, Sherpa said.

“As the oxygen cylinders that they had with them were running out, they decided to go down to camp four in the hope of climbing back again with oxygen cylinders to save him,” Sherpa told Agence France-Presse.

But strong winds and bad weather prevented the guides from returning immediately, the Himalayan Times reports.

Kennison’s ascent came 17 years after he was told he would never be able to walk again, following a 2006 car accident that left him battling spinal cord injuries and depression. He used his ascent to raise money for Spinal Cord Injuries Australia.

He told on his Just Giving page how the motivation to climb Everest came after another spinal cord procedure three years ago led to another round of rehab: “Someone close to me convinced me that I was still capable of doing what I wanted.”

He said the gift of a surfboard had given him the motivation “to see my life in a different light, to see what I personally lacked inside and admire the obstacles that I had overcome”.

“In 2023 I will go to Nepal, to see and be on Mount Everest, far from once struggling with traumatic injuries and the low and dark days of depression. An ambitious feat that I never would have dreamed of, or thought possible after once being told I wouldn’t be able to walk.

“I’m going to make the most of my life and part of that means helping other people who have had their lives changed in an instant by spinal cord injury. They shouldn’t be forgotten; they should be helped.”

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His family said on social media: “He was the bravest, most adventurous person we knew and he will be forever missed.”

Before traveling to Everest, Kennison told 7News, “I’ve always challenged myself internally to overcome these things. Everest has become this symbol for me to overcome these challenges and have that fulfillment.”

Before the ascent, he flew to New Zealand for rock climbing courses, practiced rappelling and rock climbing, and set up training in his backyard for ladder crossing, jumping and roping.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it was providing consular assistance to the family of an Australian who had died in Nepal.

Mount Everest has recorded 10 deaths this spring season, with two climbers still missing above the high camps, according to the Himalayan Times.

Asian Trekking has been contacted.