In a post published on behalf of Kaplan by veterans group Operation Unity South Australia, she paid tribute to “my dearly loved Paul Miller”.
The post said Miller went to the Kokoda Track last week with another family member, however, collapsed not long after beginning.
“Unfortunately on the second day, Paul had what is believed to be a heart attack. Despite all efforts of assistance and of CPR, Paul was airlifted out and it has been confirmed that he had passed away on arrival at the hospital,” Kaplan said.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed the death and is providing consular assistance to the man’s family.
Kaplan stated through Operation Unity SA’s post that more information would follow when Miller is released and returns home from Papua New Guinea.
“He went out with a bang – doing something that he has always wanted to do … Kokoda.”
In a separate post to Facebook, Miller’s daughter Sarah wrote she woke up to her “whole world falling apart” when hearing the news her father passed away.
“I still don’t want to believe it. I still want to believe that Dad will call me and tell me everything will be okay,” she wrote.
“My best friend, my hero, my safety blanket is gone, but I know his memories will live on forever and I will always be meeting people that loved and knew him.”
Kokoda Track Authority chief executive Julius Wargirai said his agency was contacted by the tour group organisers that a man had collapsed on the walk.
“The group then continued the track,” he said.
The agency confirmed the man’s death and said local police were investigating.
The Kokoda Track is the location of a World War II battle between Japanese and Australian forces, which runs 96 kilometres through the Owen Stanley Range in Papua New Guinea.
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