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Philip Andrew Irons

(July 24, 1978 – November 2, 2010)

[Text from the Wikipedia listing for Irons.]

Andy Irons

Andy Irons was a professional surfer. Irons learned to surf on the dangerous and shallow reefs of the North Shore in Kauai, Hawaii. Over the course of his professional career, he won three world titles (2002, 2003, 2004), three Quiksilver Pro France titles (2003, 2004, 2005), two Rip Curl Pro Search titles (2006 and 2007) and 20 elite tour victories including the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing four times from 2002-2006. On September 3, 2010 he won the Billabong Pro in Tahiti. He and his family hosted the Annual Irons Brothers Pinetrees Classic, a contest for youngsters. The Governor of Hawaii declared February 13 forever “Andy Irons Day”. He is the only surfer to have won a title at every venue on the ASP calendar.

Irons died on November 2, 2010; according to The Association of Surfing Professionals, “he had reportedly been battling with dengue fever, a viral disease.” It is believed that this may be linked to his death however, Professor Robert Booy, an infectious disease academic, was suspicious of this, saying that dengue fever deaths are rare.[8] Investigators have ruled out foul play as a cause but are currently waiting on toxicology reports. He was found lying in bed on his back with the sheets pulled up to his chin, by two hotel staff after he had failed to respond to knock on the door and they went in to investigate.

In response to Irons’s death, a World Championship Tour event in Puerto Rico was postponed for two days with competitors holding a “paddle out” memorial service for Irons. Irons had withdrawn from the event citing ill health and was flying back to his home in Hawaii before dying during a stopover in Dallas, Texas. He had reportedly stopped in Miami after leaving Puerto Rico and early reports said he was put on a saline drip. Later reports suggest he went to South Beach to party. He was reported to have been vomiting on the Hawaii bound plane before being removed prior to take-off. In the days immediately following his death it was reported that, in Dallas, an extremely ill Irons had attempted to board his connecting flight to Honolulu at 11:30 a.m. but was turned away at an American Airlines gate—a claim the company denies.

Local officials said the cause of death was not immediately known but Hawaii’s Star Advertiser reported that his death was being investigated as a possible overdose of methadone, citing information provided by the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office. Irons was diagnosed at one point with sleep apnea. A toxicologist said combining methadone with that condition could be risky. According to the official police report Alprazolam and Zolpidem were found in Irons’ hotel room. Despite many rumors that methadone was also found in his room, the official police report does not confirm that theory.

A memorial service was held November 14th in Hanalei Bay, Kauai. His wife Lyndie and brother Bruce, scattered his ashes outside Hanalei Bay where thousands of family, friends and admirers said their last goodbyes.

Rival surfer and friend Kelly Slater dedicated his November 6, 2010 victory to Irons. “I just want to send my condolences to Andy’s family,” Slater said. “I’m a little overwhelmed right now but I want to dedicate this to Andy… It’s like exact opposites. This doesn’t really offset that, I’d give this title away in a second if Andy could come back.”

On November 20, 2010, while making his entrance into the arena for his fight against Matt Hughes at UFC 123, mixed martial artist BJ Penn wore a shirt that read “A.I. WOULD SCRAP.” UFC broadcaster Mike Goldberg pointed out that the “A.I.” stood for Andy Irons, and mentioned his recent passing. Goldberg also noted that Irons was a close friend of Penn and his family.

Andy Irons surfing Pipeline

1 comment to In Memoriam: Andy Irons, Professional Surfer

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