A dead man found floating in the ocean off the coast of La Jolla over the weekend has been identified as musician Taylor “Tay” Watts.
Watts fell from Crystal Pier three weeks ago and disappeared in the surf, authorities reported.
A fisherman in a boat came across the body of 27-year-old Watts several miles from shore about 7:30 a.m. Sunday, according to the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office.
About 5:30 p.m. Jan. 21, Watts was with friends on the pier at the foot of Garnet Avenue when he climbed over a railing, grabbed a nylon rope attached to the structure and leaned back over the water, the county agency reported.
Apparently losing his grip moments later, he plunged backward into the sea, possibly hitting his head on part of the pier on the way down, witnesses said.
Lifeguard divers and U.S. Coast Guard personnel conducted an intensive search for the singer-songwriter — a Texas native — in the ocean and along the shoreline for several days, finding no sign of him.
A biography on his website said he grew up outside Houston and moved to Southern California at 21.
Three years later, he signed with Keep Your Soul Records, an independent label in Los Angeles.
“Since then, Tay has built a fanbase online as well as touring,” the bio said. “His music is authentic and relaxed, but also energetic and fun – infused with lyrics telling where the heart has been and where it hopes to go.”
A GoFundMe memorial page has raised $13,200 for his family.
“If you had the pleasure of knowing Tay, you know that he was indescribable,” said the page. “His smile was the most contagious thing any of us have ever seen.
“He left us too soon because he probably had a cooler party to get to. While nothing can take away the immense pain we are all feeling, hopefully we can help ease some of the financial burdens unexpectedly forced onto his family.”
— City News Service contributed to this report.