The surfing world is mourning the loss of the one its greats this morning with news of the passing of three-time World Champion Andy Irons. He was 32.
While the cause of death has not been revealed, surfing officials disclosed that Irons had been suffering from dengue fever, (otherwise known as "breakbone fever"), a painful mosquito-transmitted infection. Last weekend, the star missed Round 1 and 2 heats at the Rip Curl Search Puerto Rico stop on the ASP Men's World Tour, and was planning on returning home to Hawaii when he passed away.
Police found Irons' body in his hotel room — as well as methadone, a controlled substance used for pain, and numerous other medications on a bedside table. While an autopsy report will be released later, there is some speculation that an overdose on the painkiller may have played a role in his death.
For now, however, fans are remembering the surfing great as a creative force out on the water — and as a man never afraid to tackle some of the largest waves nature could throw his way.
Sponsor Billabong paid special tribute to Irons by memorializing him on the front of their homepage — and calling him "one of the greatest surfers of our time."
“He was the best big wave rider — a paddling surfer — in the world by far,” said 1999 world surfing champion Mark Occhilupo. “We’re heading to Hawaii on Saturday because we need to be there with everyone.”
Check out this video of Irons doing what he loved best: