- Official Billabong Press Release Regarding Andy Irons-
HONOLULU - (November 2, 2010) - The world of surfing mourns an incredibly sad loss today with the news that Hawaii's Andy Irons has died. Andy was a beloved husband, and a true champion. Irons, 32, withdrew from a professional surfing event in Puerto Rico last weekend due to illness and passed away during a layover en-route to his home in Kauai, Hawaii. He had reportedly been battling with dengue fever, a viral disease.
At this time the family thanks his friends and fans for their support, and asks that the community respect its privacy. The family also asks to not be contacted so their focus can remain on one another during this time of profound loss.
A Three-time surfing world champion Andy Irons has died from an illness on his way home to Hawaii .
Andy was forced to withdraw from the current men's tour event in Puerto Rico.
His family has confirmed he was found dead on Tuesday after being way too ill to board a connecting flight - believed to be from Dallas - to his home, Kauai.
The Assocation of Surfing Professionals (ASP) said Irons "had reportedly been battling with dengue fever, a viral disease."
From 2002 to 2004 Irons won three consecutive world titles.
The the only professional surfer to win at every location on the world tour. He racked up 20 elite tour victories in a terrific 12-year career.
Irons leaves behind pregnant wife Lyndie Dupuis who is due to give birth within a month.
ASP international media manager Dave Prodan says Irons's death is a massive blow to the world sporting community.
"This is in my opinion one of the most devastating losses, not just to the surfing world, but to the international sporting community in general," he said from Puerto Rico.
"Obviously Andy was more than just a three-time ASP world champion. He was a hero to literally millions of kids who surfed and who didn't surf around the world, and to grown-ups as well.
"I can't imagine the impact this is going to have but it's certainly something that we will feel the world over for many years to come."
Mr Prodan says ASP extends its thoughts and sympathies to Irons's family.
"It's a massive blow here to everyone in Puerto Rico just finding out in the last hour, so we're all sorting through the feelings at the moment ... it's an incredible shock," he said.
"Andy has been a staple in the professional sporting world for over a decade and this year marked a rebuilding year for him and he's been winning events and surfing incredibly well.
"I think throughout his career people would say that he is one of the healthiest, strongest individuals you've ever met."
Mr Prodan said the world surfing community is like a brotherhood, and that Australians will be hit hard by the news.
"I can only imagine the impact that they're feeling in Australia - especially close friends such as Joel Parkinson and Mick Fanning," he said.
"I mean Andy was celebrated the world over and celebrated as one of the best surfers in the world and Australia is a country that reveres surfing so I can only imagine the entire country is feeling this at the moment."
Irons was one of the few surfers to consistently match nine-time world champion and fellow American Kelly Slater.
"He was probably the first surfer to challenge him (Slater) and really set the surfing world alight," Mr Prodan said.
"I think people will remember Andy for his unparalleled ability and overall comprehensive approach to surfing.
"He never compromised anything, whether it be his approach, or his competitive tactics or anything."