Plamen Petkov died at the busy beach on Saturday when he went to save a five-year-old girl who was drifting out to sea on an inflatable.
The girl was brought safely to shore by another rescuer but sadly Mr Petkov was pronounced dead at the scene.
A family spokesperson said: “We are all incredibly sad to have lost such a special person from our lives but we are also immensely proud that Plamen was able to save the life of this young child.
“His display of concern for others was typical of the man we all knew and the way he lived his life.
“Plamen always made time to help others, and as a family we have all been touched by his kindness and generosity which he displayed each day.”
For the full story on the events which unfolded at West Wittering, see the Chichester Observer on Thursday, May 31.