enjoyed celebrity status in Poland. People stopped him on the street to take selfies. An elementary school honored him with a statue in his scruffy, bearded likeness. And he began preparing to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, an expedition that had long been on his bucket list. He trained by jogging up and down the stairs of a high-rise building with a heavy backpack, and he took long daily hikes.

He arrived in Tanzania last month. On the morning of Feb. 22, he reached Kilimanjaro’s summit with two guides. After taking in the view, he sat on a rock to rest.

“He said many times that he didn’t want to die in his bed,” his son said. “From what we gather, he was euphoric to reach the summit. Then he sat down and fell asleep.”

One of the last people to see Mr. Doba alive was a Polish climber named Boguslaw Wawrzyniak, who was also summiting Kilimanjaro that day. When he encountered Mr. Doba at 18,700 feet, he was excited to encounter one of his homeland’s heroes, and he took a selfie with him on the mountain.

“I wished him luck in reaching the summit,” Mr. Wawrzyniak said in a phone interview. “Then I asked the local guides with him, ‘Do you know who this man is?’ And they said: ‘Yes. We know who this is. He is the king of the ocean.’”

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