GARDEN GROVE (CBSLA.com) — An Orange County man is dead after trying to save a friend during a hike on Mount Baldy earlier this week.

According to a spokeswoman for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, Daniel Nguyen of Garden Grove was walking along Devil’s Backbone Trail about 7 a.m. Tuesday when his friend was losing his footing.

The 23-year-old tried to pull his friend to safety when he slipped and plunged 1,500 feet off a mountainside.

The friend called deputies, who found the college graduate about an hour and a half later. The victim was rushed to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 5:16 p.m.

The victim’s mother, Lan Nguyen, said she still cannot believe her son is dead. “He my love, my hope, everything for my life.”

She and her husband, Tho, learned the bad news when sheriff’s deputies told them their only son had fallen to his death after reaching out his hand to save a friend.

The Cal State Long Beach alumnus loved the outdoors. He hiked trails all over the country and rode his bike from Garden Grove to Long Beach every day, according to his parents.

Friends on Facebook are calling Nguyen a hero for putting an inexperienced hiker’s life above his own.

As they make funeral arrangements for their once-vibrant son, the parents found comfort not just in how he lived, but how he died.

“I hurt so bad. I sad so much. But I look on the bright side. My son he do the right thing. He sacrificed his own life, so he can save somebody else life,” the victim’s father said.

The Nguyen family has set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for Daniel’s funeral. If you would like to donate, click here.

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