ROCKMART, Ga. -- Mike Patterson, the man who was left paralyzed after jumping into a creek to save a drowning girl, has died.
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Patterson broke three bones in his neck when he dove into Euharlee Creek in Rockmart earlier this month. He battled a number of medical complications in the days that followed.
According to his wife, Renee, he lost his battle early Friday morning.
There will be a viewing for Mike Patterson at the Gammage Funeral Home in Cedartown, Saturday from 6-9pm. His funeral will be at the same location on Sunday at 2pm. Both are open to the public.
Over the last several weeks, thousands of people used social media sites to send messages of support to him and his family.
The page Friends Of Mike Patterson has the header: Hero. Patterson's 9-year old son says he knows why.
"He's nice and brave," said Cody, stopping to talk while riding his dirt bike. He says its was one of his favorite things to do with his dad and something he will miss.
Another favorite summer time activity was swimming at Euharlee Creek. Cody says he was there when his dad made the jump that saved this little girl's life. It was the same jump that 20 days later, would cost him his own.
When Patterson hit the creek bed, he broke three bones in his neck, leaving him paralyzed. It's amazing even with his injury he managed to get the four year old girl to safety. His wife Renee says he never expressed regret.
"He would do it all over again. He'd want somebody to do it for his little boy," she said with tears of sadness and pride in her eyes.
"He's definitely an angel now, looking over us," she added.