The world of professional surfing received a shock yesterday when it was announced that 32-year old Andy Irons was found dead in his hotel room in Dallas. The three-time world champion had withdrawn from the 2010 Rip Curl Pro Search competition in Puerto Rico on Sunday, claiming that he had become ill while in Portugal. That illness turned out to be Dengue Fever, which is normally not a fatal disease; however, dengue hemorrhagic fever can be fatal. The extent of Irons’ illness is still unknown, as an autopsy is scheduled for today.
Irons won the Association of Surfing Professionals championships in 2002, 2003, and 2004, and he had at least 20 world championship event wins to his name, making him one of the most prolific professional surfers in American history. Irons was heading home to Hawaii to compete in the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing next week, as he was a four-time champion of the event and a favorite of his home state. Irons was also excited to see his wife, Lyndie, who is pregnant with their first son.
Kind words and some videos of the surfing great after the jump…
“The thing that I think many of us appreciated the most about Andy was that he was an incredibly real person,” Triple Crown spokeswoman Jodi Wilmott said. “Where a lot of champions in sports and celebrities become very guarded and you just wonder sometimes if you’re really seeing who they are, you’ve got Andy Irons 100 percent of the time.”
Wilmott said Irons was a passionate person and an incredibly competitive athlete.
“He reveled in competition and in stepping up to the plate and I think that’s something in sport that anybody can admire,” she said. (Via WDSU.com)
(Photo via Lat34.com)