The search for Norman Lee, a comic book artist and inker, has been called off by authorities in the Cayman Islands, five days after he went missing while snorkeling.

Norman Lee Believed Dead

Lee, 47, was vacationing with his wife, Jan Lee, when the two went snorkeling off the coast of the Cayman Islands together on Thursday, March 5. The two became separated in the tide and only his wife made it back to shore. “The spouse returned to shore, but her husband was not seen. A report was made for assistance and a search commenced,” said Chief Inspector Brad Ebanks.

The Royal Caribbean Police Service conducted the search, which was called off on Saturday, and Ebanks confirmed that the strong currents make a rescue, or even a recovery, unlikely. “We put all assets available to us, both law enforcement and privately owned. We thank all those who assisted us in this time of need. Unfortunately we were unable to find or recover Mr. Lee,” Ebanks added.

Lee worked for DC Comics and Marvel Comics as an artist and inker, having worked on various titles from Marvel’s X-Men to DC’s Supergirl. Friends and fans have taken to Lee’s official Facebook page to pay their respects.

“He was always quick with the encouragement and positive attitudes (and that smile)… one of the most generous, friendly and talented guys I know. It’s no surprise his career in comics took off, and he was able to work on books from all the big comics publishers,” wrote freelance artist and friend Craig Rousseau.

“It’s all true that he was a larger than life personality, much like the characters he delineated professionally. He was a fiercely passionate person. He was very loyal and loving to the end, but on the other hand, were you to have wronged him, you would clearly know,” wrote fellow inker Bob Almond.