Three-Time World Surfing Champion Andy Irons Dies

Irons died in Dallas on a layover en route to his home in Hawaii

Andy Irons, a three-time word surfing champion died at 32 on Tuesday.

ESPN reports that Irons was in Puerto Rico competing in the ASP Men's World Tour last weekend when he began to feel ill. During an overnight layover in Dallas on the way to his home in Hawaii, hotel staff found Irons after he failed to respond to a wake-up call.

An official statement by the spokesman for Billabong said that Irons "felt ill in Puerto Rico and went to see the contest doctor. The doctor told him to withdraw from the contest and go back home to fix the disease (Dengue Fever)."

The Honolulu Star Advertiser released a report that said Irons' death was being investigated as a possible methadone overdose, and that the drug, along with other prescription medications, was found at the scene.

The Tarrant County Medical Examiner would not confirm the report; only saying a statement would be released after an autopsy was completed on Wednesday.

In July of 2008, Irons was inducted into the Huntington Beach Surfing Walk of Fame. At the time, Irons had won three consecutive ASP World Titles, four Vans Triple Crown awards, two Pipeline Masters crowns and two U.S. Open of Surfing titles.

Perhaps more important than titles and statistics, was the rivalry between Irons and nine-time World Champion Kelly Slater.  Irons was the only surfer who could ever compete with Slater, and the two provided the surfing world with some extremely memorable and entertaining title races.

Fellow surfer Reef McIntosh, who grew up with Irons on Kauai, said Wednesday from Hawaii: "I talked to Phil [Irons], I talked to Bruce [Irons] -- everyone's just crying. I was surfing Mavericks with Shane [Dorian] and everyone else and saw all these missed calls. My girlfriend called and said Andy had died. I didn't return these calls because I didn't want to drive and cry at the same time. Everyone on Kauai is crying right now."

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