Longtime professional surfer Sunny Garcia has been hospitalized, the World Surf League announced in a tweet on Monday night.
The WSL did not elaborate on Garcia’s condition or what led to the hospitalization, though they stated that the pro surfer is currently in the Intensive Care Unit.
“With heavy hearts we confirm that Sunny Garcia is in the ICU in the hospital,” the tweet read. “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.”
With heavy hearts we confirm that Sunny Garcia is in the ICU in the hospital. 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. pic.twitter.com/re0F3l9toI— World Surf League (@wsl) April 30, 2019
The 49-year-old Hawaii-born pro surfer has been active in the sport for more than three decades, and is regarded as one of Hawaii's most accomplished and well-known surfers.
A six-time winner of the coveted Triple Crown of Surfing, his most recent win in 2004, and the 2000 ASP World Champion, Garcia learned how to surf at the age of five and made his professional debut at 16, the New York Post reports. In 2015, he was inducted into the Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame.
In his most recent post on social media, Garcia had reflected on his achievements and how far he had come.
“If I told this kid the things he would go through and things he would achieve he would tell me I’m crazy lol,” he captioned a throwback photo of himself. “Wow it’s been a crazy ride since this photo was taken.”
Following news of his hospitalization, Garcia’s fans and others in the surfing community took to social media with words of support and encouragement.
“Sunny…I love you, brother,” professional surfer Kelly 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’s been hard times but there have been so many good ones, too. Just praying you wake up and we get more of you.”
“Brother! Shared many good times!hang in there son!its not your time!only god knows!love you !” former world champion Derek Ho wrote. “we never get to say that enough until they’re gone!but you haven’t left yet!I will talk to you soon!our prayers are with you!!!the Ho family!”
“Sending love and pura vida vibes to his family. Stay strong Sunny,” a fan added.