The family of William Symcox have praised the rescue services and medical staff for their efforts to save him.
The 36-year-old had been swimming near Marsden Grotto when it is believed he suffered from cardiac respiratory failure.
It was only due to the diligence of people sitting on the beach watching him swim, that emergency services were so quickly on the scene.
The alarm was raised at 4.10pm on Monday after beach goers became concerned when they could no longer see the father of three in the water.
Tynemouth RNLI lifeboat was launched and RAF helicopter the Sea king, which was on a training session nearby, was also sent to the scene.
Mr Symcox was airlifted to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Hospital where medics desperately tried to save his life.
But after a number of attempts, he was pronounced dead by doctors.
His father, Billy, said: “We can’t praise the emergency services enough. There was no delay in getting to our son whatsoever.
“Everything the emergency services could have done they did.
“The doctors at the hospital explained everything to us and the police officers who came to our home were also really good.”
His mother Brenda said: “We are really grateful to the people who raised the alarm.
“I’d hate to think where we would be now if they hadn’t.”