The End of the Party
Hawaiian Andy Irons is dead. He was 32. Andy, the three-time world champion and the only a surfer to challenge and beat Kelly Slater at his peak, had been diagnosed with Dengue Fever, a mosquito-borne disease. Andy caught the disease in Puerto Rico, where an outbreak of Dengue Fever this year has resulted in 8381 confirmed […]
Hawaiian Andy Irons is dead. He was 32. Andy, the three-time world champion and the only a surfer to challenge and beat Kelly Slater at his peak, had been diagnosed with Dengue Fever, a mosquito-borne disease. Andy caught the disease in Puerto Rico, where an outbreak of Dengue Fever this year has resulted in 8381 confirmed infections and 29 deaths.
Too ill to compete in the WT event there, he left the island and flew to Miami where he was put on a drip by a doctor. Andy wanted to see his own doctor in Hawaii, but on the connecting American Airlines flight from Miami to Dallas he began vomiting. He left the flight and checked into a hotel room at the Grand Hyatt, Dallas/Forth Worth airport at 6.59am, November 1. Andy was found dead in his bed by two hotel staff members the following morning when he failed to answer a wake-up call. He was pronounced dead at 9:46am, CST. Contrary to earlier reports, the synthetic opioid Methadone was not found in the room. This morning’s autopsy by the Tarrant County coroner failed to rule conclusively on the cause of death. A toxicology test may take up to three months to complete.
Kala Alexander, 41, a world-renowned big-wave surfer from Andy’s home island of Kauai, was nine when Andy was born. “He was born in my mom’s sister’s car on the way to the hospital. I’ve been there since day one. I’ve held him in my arms all through his years in diapers. I knew something serious was up when Andy didn’t show for his heat in Puerto Rico. I had a bad feeling.”
Kala added: “I don’t know who let him check into a hotel room and not a hospital. You need a nurse. A friend. Anyone.”
Andy’s wife Lyndie is six weeks away from giving birth to their first child, a boy, Axel Jason Irons.
“I’ve had my fair shares of hills and valleys, but my life’s been radical and exciting. Stuff that kings would die to do. Straight up, fucken A. The lifestyle we’ve got and the life I’ve led since I was 17, I can’t even tell my friends. I try and tell stories and they think I’m making it up or saw it in a fucking movie. Straight up. It’s the life I wanted since I caught my first wave.” Andy Irons, October 12, 2010. – Derek Rielly (with additional reporting by Sam McIntosh)
– Photo by Steve Sherman
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