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The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service have been searching for Massachusetts comic book artist/inker Norman Lee, 47, who went missing Thursday while snorkeling with his wife, Jan, and have just announced that he is presumed dead.

Norman Lee

On Thursday, officers were alerted to a missing snorkeler off the East End. The man, Norman Lee, and his wife, Jan, were snorkeling about 250 yards off shore. His wife returned safely to shore and that’s when authorities were alerted. He was last seen shirtless, wearing white beach shorts, black and blue fins as well as clear goggles.

At 6 p.m. on Friday, the massive search, scouring the sea with rescue divers, boats and helicopters, was stood down to calls of sightings of interest and continued marine enforcement vessels in the area.

Today, police called off the search and have given up hope of finding Lee alive, and officials are skeptical that a body will even be recovered. Search crews stated that the currents where Lee was snorkeling are extremely strong.

Norman Lee2

The powerful currents make it “unlikely that we will make any recovery at this stage,” Chief Inspector Brad Ebanks said.

Lee, who lived with his wife in Weymouth, Massachusetts joined Marvel almost two decades ago working on Wolverine panels. He also worked for DC Comics on the Supergirl and Starman titles. It was his job to ink in the final lines on the iconic characters.

Lee graduated from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth with a BFA in illustration/design. He began his career working for Marvel in 1996 on the Wolverine Annual. He eventually moved on to work on Deadpool, Cable, X-Force, Captain Marvel, Avengers: Supreme Justice, AVX, Wolverine and the X-Men, Astonishing X-Men, X-Men, and many other titles. He also worked for Disney, the Sci-Fi Channel, and Dark Horse.

Norman Lee3

Lee was a former college fencer with a powerful physique. This gave family and friends hope that he would somehow survive.

Longtime friend Bob Shaw at WMUR-TV stated, “He’s a very strong man. If anyone can survive it, it’s Norman. So, I hold out hope at the moment.”

There has been an outpouring of support from friends and fans on Lee’s Facebook page.

One fan wrote, “He was a great guy, and I really pray that by some miracle he’s alive somewhere somehow. Either way, Godspeed Norman.”

Sources: comiccarthouse, nydailynews, foxnews