Thomas J. Walker
CNN  — 

A Missouri man drowned in Lake Michigan Sunday trying to rescue two children in distress, according to the Racine County Sheriff’s Office.

The man has been identified as Thomas J. Walker, 40, and the sheriff’s office said he died aiding his young relatives “as they struggled in the waters of Lake Michigan.”

“He was a kind soul and an amazing uncle to his niece and nephews. And how we lost him is a testament to how great an uncle and all-around guy he was. (We) never met a person who didn’t like him. He is missed greatly,” Walker’s family said in a statement released by the sheriff’s office.

Walker is the fourth person to drown at Racine County beaches at Lake Michigan this summer, said Sgt. Michael Luell with the Racine County Sheriff’s Office.

“The Sheriff’s Office commends the heroic actions of the man who assisted in saving the lives of these two young children. Our thoughts and prayers are with him, his family, and his loved ones. We also encourage people to take the time to investigate current lake conditions before entering Lake Michigan and take all necessary precautions. This, like the other unfortunate drownings this summer, are tragic, incredibly sad, and preventable,” Sheriff Christopher Schmaling said in a statement posted to Facebook.