Joshua Hensly, aged 43, was known for his kindness, especially toward children. For the townspeople of Crystal River, Florida, Hensly was also known as Captain Jack Sparrow, pulling stunts as he floated on his paddle board.
For years, Hensly had been dressing as the pirate captain, made famous by Johnny Depp in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, and haunting the waterfront of Crystal River.
They called him a free-spirit who loved to pose with children in photos whenever asked.
Recently, tragedy struck the close knit community when the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office reported his body was pulled from King Bay.
Local man Ryan Downs told PEOPLE,
“He’s kind of become a staple, because he would just be on his paddleboard at any given moment and he would be in full Jack Sparrow attire. Our town, we spend a lot of time on the water, going down the river, and then you look up, and there he is in a tree, jumping out of a 45-50 foot tree.”
Downs considered Hensley a friend ever since he offered to help promote a pirate themed event Downs coordinated.
Another woman, Pamela Rutzebeck said she and Hensley bonded over a love for the water, animals and family. She called him charismatic.
Both she and Downs said Hensley was quite close to his own children.
“He took an interest in helping my grandson, who has some special needs, to be better at paddleboarding and would let him follow him around out there and taught him some tricks on his board.”
Hensley created custom paddle boards and kayaks with his company Big Foot Paddle Boards. His Captain Sparrow persona was his way of marketing his company. But, he enjoyed playing the character so much and making people smile, it became a part of him.
A Facebook tribute page shows just how much people liked him. Many posted about his kindness and how he help the local kids learn how to paddle board.
The day before he disappeared, the wind was up in the bay. When his car was discovered still in the parking lot overnight, authorities investigated and found Hensley.
The devastating news about Hensley’s death has hit the residents of Crystal River hard. A beautiful, gentle soul is gone and the townspeople say the water won’t be the same without their very own Captain Sparrow and his paddle board.