The Mormon church says a 19-year-old Utah man serving a religious mission in Sydney, Australia, fell from a cliff and died at a park popular for whale watching.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said Gavin Paul Zimmerman of West Haven, Utah, was with a group of other missionaries when he slipped Monday.

Church spokesman Daniel Woodruff says Zimmerman was at Cape Solander.

Zimmerman's parents say in a statement that he was a high school track and football athlete who left for a proselyting mission in Sydney in August 2017. They say he had a deep religious faith and served in several leadership positions.

Missions are considered rites of passage for many Mormons. Men serve two years and women serve 18 months.