A pleasant night enjoying the warmth and some barbecue on the lakefront ended sadly Sunday when a West Side man known for his good humor died trying to do a backflip.
Terrence Mauldin was with his nephew in the Gold Coast neighborhood last night when he accidentally fell on his head while trying the maneuver, authorities said.
"This is just too much," said his son Ernest Hardaway, 27, of south suburban Country Club Hills. "It's ridiculous. It's heartbreaking."
Hardaway, whose sister Takara Julia Mauldin had died in an automobile accident the day after Christmas in 2011, had been visiting his father's West Side home earlier Sunday and had watched him leave for an evening out on the lakefront. Hardaway decided not to go because he had an early day at work this morning and a long drive home.
The plan was to do some barbecuing while enjoying the beautiful weather along North Avenue Beach.
"He was in a great mood, he was ecstatic,"' Hardaway said of his 54-year-old father.
As they were hanging out, Mauldin's 23-year-old nephew did a backflip. So his father, an athletic, high-spirited "joke teller"' who "loved to laugh" wanted to show that he could do one too.
"He wanted to make us think that he's not getting older," Hardaway said. "He was just trying to have a good time."
Police said Mauldin attempted the backflip off a three-foot-high retaining wall south of North Avenue Beach around 7:20 p.m. but landed head-first on the concrete, according to police.
Paramedics responded to the 1500 block of North Lake Shore Drive, performed CPR and took Mauldin to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, police said.
Mauldin, of the 5600 block of West Augusta Boulevard in the Austin neighborhood, was pronounced dead at 7:58 p.m. in the hospital emergency room, according to police and the Cook County medical examiner's office. He died of multiple injuries caused from a fall from heights, according to an autopsy conducted today. His death was ruled an accident.
"It's so sad," Hardaway said.
"He was the thrill of all of us in the family. He brought laughter to the family."firstname.lastname@example.org