Khalid Adkins loved the Dominican Republic so much that he planned to retire there one day.
The Denver father of two would, in fact, spend his last days in that Caribbean country — but it was not the way he planned it.
Adkins, 46, died Tuesday at a Santo Domingo hospital just days after suddenly falling ill, marking the latest in a string of seemingly mysterious or unexpected deaths in the island nation in recent months.
He had traveled to Punta Cana with his daughter last week to visit at least one property he was looking to buy, his family told the Daily News on Thursday.
The daughter, Mia Adkins, returned from the trip earlier while her dad stayed behind to spend more time in the country. When he tried flying back on Sunday, he fell sick on the plane, dripping in sweat and vomiting in the aircraft’s bathroom before departure, and was kicked off the flight, a family member said in a GoFundMe page this week.
Adkins’ older brother, Alpha, said the man was taken to the hospital and was diagnosed with a kidney failure, but family members are not sure what caused the illness or whether his medical history played any role in the death. Khalid Adkins’ body is undergoing an autopsy in the Dominican Republic, his brother said.
Mia Adkins, 21, wrote on her Facebook page that her father “got super sick” the day she returned home. The Colorado dad did have some medical issues in the past, but he seemed healthy for the past 10 years or so, Alpha Adkins said.
The U.S. Department of State confirmed the death in an email Thursday, but it would not name the deceased.
“We can confirm the death of a U.S. citizen in the Dominican Republic on June 25,” a spokesman wrote. “We offer our sincerest condolences to the family for their loss. Out of respect for the family during this difficult time, we do not have additional information to provide.”
The news comes days after another American unexpectedly died while visiting the popular Caribbean destination. Vittorio Caruso, 56, of Glen Cove, N.Y., went into respiratory distress and died last week after having a drink at a Santo Domingo resort.
On May 25, Miranda Schaupp-Werner, of Allentown, Pa., died after taking a drink from the minibar from a hotel where she and her husband were staying to celebrate their ninth wedding anniversary. Five days later, Maryland couple Edward Holmes and Cynthia Day were found dead in a hotel room at the same resort complex.
Overall, about a dozen U.S. tourists have died in the Dominican Republic since last summer — a death toll officials say isn’t higher than normal, though the circumstances over them have raised concerns and led U.S. authorities to join some of the investigations.
Alpha Adkins said the hospital told the family they would try to conduct a dialysis, but it also told them they could pay $20,000 instead to fly him back to the U.S. in a helicopter. The news prompted a family member to launch the online fund-raising campaign.
“We are trying anything to get him home!” the family wrote on the GoFundMe website. “When we try to talk to him he is just screaming in pain and saying help him please!”
Alpha Adkins described his brother as “a very outgoing guy,” a family man and the life of the party.
“He was somebody who wanted to spread love and get love,” Alpha Adkins said. “He was just a great guy, all in general.”