Sound editor Michael Hopkins, who won one of his two Oscars for "The Lord of the Rings," died while white-water rafting in his native New Zealand, the country's public radio network said Monday. He was 53.

Hopkins drowned this Sunday when he, another man and a woman were thrown from the inflatable raft they were riding down a fast-flowing stretch of rapids on the Waiohine River.

The other two on the raft survived.

Throughout his professional career, Hopkins received two Oscars, one in 2003 for his work together with Ethan Van der Ryn on "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers," and three years later for the sound editing of the film "King Kong," on which he again teamed up with Van der Ryn.

Hopkins was also in charge of the sound editing of the two first films of the saga directed by fellow New Zealander Peter Jackson, and obtained another Oscar nomination in 2008 for his work on "Transformers." EFE