A man collapsed on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River and died after going for a swim in Hay on Saturday afternoon.
The 52-year-old man had come down from the country town of Kangaroo Valley in order to help two friends complete renovations on a house.
The three friends took a break at Brewery Park on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River, where the 52-year-old went for a casual swim.
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Murrumbidgee Police inspector Kim Traynor said at this stage nobody noticed any breathing problems until the man clambered to shore.
"At around 7.30pm he went for a swim in the river. His friends did not notice anything out of the ordinary," Inspector Traynor said.
"He remained in the water for a short period of time. After he got out of the water he started to show signs of respiratory distress."
The man used his asthma inhaler a number of times but continued to struggle to breathe, so his friends called the emergency services.
The man eventually collapsed, so they tried to revive him with CPR with no success.
Ambulance crews turned up at Brewery Park shortly afterwards, however they were unable to resuscitate him and the man died on the shores of the Murrumbidgee.
At this stage it remains unclear whether he died of asthma attack, other respiratory disease, or heart attack, and so his death will be investigated by a coroner.
Inspector Traynor said there were no suspicious circumstances leading up to the man's death.
The tragedy comes less than a week after the body of a missing man was found in the river at Carrathool, around 50km upstream from Hay.
Jason Benjamin had been reported missing from the Carrathool township several days earlier.