12:00 AM CDT on Thursday, November 4, 2010
Authorities won’t know the exact cause of death for surfing champion Philip “Andy” Irons for weeks, but his family said he was suffering from dengue fever, and police say an anti-anxiety drug and a bottle for the prescription drug Ambien were found in his hotel room.
Irons, 32, was pronounced dead Tuesday morning after his body was found in a room at the Grand Hyatt Hotel at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. The world-champion surfing star from Hawaii was on a layover en route to his home on Kauai. He was returning from Puerto Rico, where he had pulled out of the 2010 Rip Curl Pro Search.
Irons was scheduled to compete in the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing in Hawaii, which is to begin next week. He was a four-time winner in the prestigious event.
“Where a lot of champions in sports and celebrities become very guarded and you just wonder sometimes if you’re really seeing who they are, you’ve got Andy Irons 100 percent of the time,” said Triple Crown spokeswoman Jodi Wilmott.
“He reveled in competition and in stepping up to the plate, and I think that’s something in sport that anybody can admire,” she said.
Employees at the hotel found the body and called airport police at 9:44 a.m. Public safety officials said he had checked in Monday.
An autopsy revealed no trauma or foul play.
A family statement said he was suffering from dengue fever, a virus that is a leading cause of death in tropical areas.
Michael Floyd of the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office said he expected results from toxicology testing to take as much as 90 days.
According to a police report, a prescription bottle of Alprazolam, a drug commonly used to treat anxiety disorders and panic attacks and available under the commonly known brand name Xanax, was found on a table. A prescription bottle for Ambien, a drug used to treat insomnia, was found on the bedside dresser table. Irons was found lying on his back with a sheet pulled up to his neck.
Irons claimed the world surfing championship in 2002, ’03 and ’04. His younger brother, Bruce, also is a pro surfer. Irons was married three years ago. His wife, Lyndie, is expecting their first child.
His family thanked the surfer’s friends and fans and requested privacy “so their focus can remain on one another during this time of profound loss.”
Rip Curl officials said Irons withdrew Sunday, citing an illness contracted during an event in Portugal.
Billabong, Irons’ longtime sponsor, posted a tribute page on its website, which includes a photo and video of Irons. In the video clip, Irons talks about making a comeback and fighting “inner demons.”
Irons also spoke of the first wave he ever caught.
“I thought right then, ‘This is the coolest thing in the world.’ … I literally will never forget that wave,” Irons said.
Philip Andrew Irons (July 24,1978 – November 2, 2010) was a professional surfer. Irons learned to surf on the dangerous and shallow reefs of the North Shore in Kauai, Hawaii, and 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 19 elite tour victories. 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’.
His younger brother, Bruce Irons, is a former competitor on the World Championship Tour of Surfing (WCT). During his childhood Andy regularly lost to Bruce in contests, but that changed once he entered the World Championship Tour.
Billabong produced an “Andy Irons” line of board shorts.
Irons married Lyndie Dupuis on November 25, 2007 in Princeville, Kauai. She was seven months pregnant with their first child at the time of his death.
He was inducted into the Surfing Walk of Fame in Huntington Beach, California in 2008.
using the number/letter grid:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q R
S T U V W X Y Z
A = 1 J = 1 S = 1
B = 2 K = 2 T = 2
C = 3 L = 3 U = 3
D = 4 M = 4 V = 4
E = 5 N = 5 W = 5
F = 6 O = 6 X = 6
G = 7 P = 7 Y = 7
H = 8 Q = 8 Z = 8
I = 9 R = 9
1547 99651 47
his path of destiny/how he learned what he was here to learn = 47 = Famous. Name & fame. Notoriety. Name recognition. (Inter)nationally known. High profile. VIP. Well-known. Household name. Public life. Limelight. Legendary. Notable. Noteworthy. Eminent. Prominent.