Former surfing world champion Sunny Garcia in intensive care
["north america"]
Surfing legend Sunny Garcia was being treated in intensive care at a Portland hospital on Tuesday after a reported suicide attempt.
The 49-year-old surfing icon's hospitalization was confirmed in a statement from the World Surf League.
"With heavy hearts, we confirm that Sunny Garcia is in the ICU in the hospital," the WSL wrote on Twitter. "Sunny has always been a great champion of surfing, both in and out of the water. Our prayers are with him and his loved ones at this deeply challenging time."
Garcia, a six-time winner of surfing's Triple Crown, was admitted to hospital on Monday. The website said Garcia, who has struggled with depression for several years, had attempted suicide.
News of Garcia's hospitalization prompted a wave of messages across social media.
American surfing star Kelly Slater posted a photo of himself smiling alongside Garcia on Instagram.
"I love you, brother," Slater wrote. "I just can't even fathom you not here. We've got so much more living to do before we are done.
"There have been hard times but there have been so many good ones, too. Just praying you to wake up and we get more of you."
The Hawaii-born and raised Garcia's professional career has spanned four decades from the mid-1980s when he began competing soon after leaving school in 1986.
He was the World Surf League (WSL)'s World Champion in 2000 and he was only the second professional surfer to amass more than 1 million U.S. dollars in prize money.
However, his life out of the water has encountered turbulence. He served a three-month prison sentence in 2007 for tax evasion and has also spoken about depression.
"Depression is no joke waking up feeling like your (sic) ready to take on the world, then a couple of hours later, feeling down on life and wondering what's wrong with you," Garcia wrote in a 2014 Instagram post.
"I'm not sure what's wrong with me because I have no reason to feel the way I do and it's been happening for about two years and would love to hear from any of you who suffer these feelings so I can figure out what I should do."
Source(s): AFP