Sunny Garcia, a legend in the surf community and a world champion in 2000, has been hospitalized for what has been reported in several news stores as a suicide attempt. He remains in the intensive care unit, confirmed World Surf League on Tuesday.
The news, which rocked the tight world of surfing and made a fatigue of empathy on social media, was confirmed by the league on Twitter . The league refused to comment further.
Garcia grew up on the western side of the Hawaiian island of Oahu, whose famous North Shore with its massive waves will surf what Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby are for horse racing. He dropped out of high school at age 16 to start surfing professionally. He rose rapidly through the row and was at the top of professional surfers throughout the 1990s and finished in the top 10 for 10 consecutive years. He became the second surfer in history to win more than $ 1 million in prize money.
But in 2014, Garcia began to discuss his mental health struggles. He shared a post on Instagram headed "Depression is no joke … I'm not alone and I'm not sure what's wrong with me because I have no reason to feel the way I do."
In the caption he also asked for help: "It has been for about two years and would like to hear from any of you who suffer from these feelings so I can find out what to do."
He was overwhelmed with hundreds of responses online and personally.
"For me to reach out and ask for help, it was difficult," he said in an interview in 2015 with The Honolulu Star Advertiser. "Fortunately for me, I have really good people around me to help me out."
This reaction came long after he became known as a strong surfer whose power in the water could be matched by his intensity on land. The statement and pronounced, he occasionally had problems scuffling with a competitor or throwing stones, sand and even a muffin with judges and surf officials. He earned three months in federal tax fraud prison in 2006 and in 2011 was suspended from a competition after being involved in a physical deterioration.
The stay was all over the sanctuary – where he first went to escape a childhood of poverty and school problems.
He became a mentor to many in the surfing community and an important figure of the sport. Garcia was introduced in the Surfing Walk of Fame in 2010 and the Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame in 2015.
He was a big brother figure to Andy Irons, a three-hour world champion and another Hawaiian surfer known for occasional irregular behavior. Irons died of a heart attack in 2010. Toxicological tests revealed a cocktail of drugs, including cocaine and methamphetamine, in his system. His family confirmed that he had been treating bipolar disorder since 18 years.
"I was like his elder brother, but I didn't really know or understood what he was dealing with," Garcia said about irons in an interview year later. "If I knew what I know now, I would have told him to get more help, professional help. Your friends and your family can only help you so much. I don't want to be a tough guy anymore. to be open. "
The same community gathered about Garcia on Tuesday as news spread that he was in critical condition at a hospital in Portland, Ore. Area.
"We've had so much more to do before we're done," wrote the 11-hour world champion Kelly Slater on Instagram, sharing a picture of the two surfing mavericks. "There have been hard times, but there have been so many good ones. Just ask you to wake up and we get more from you."
Jérémy Florès, a professional surfer from France, shared a picture of the two and wrote: "Come on brother, we need you here! It's not your time yet."
On Sunday, Garcia sent an Instagram image of himself as a teenager with a barberist. "If I told this kid, the things he wanted to go through and things he wanted to achieve, he would tell me I'm crazy … it's been a crazy trip since this picture was taken," he wrote.
If you have suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of additional resources.