[Post updated on April 30 at 2:53 p.m.]
It has been confirmed that Hawaii’s Sunny Garcia, the 2000 World Champ and power surfing icon, is hospitalized in the Intensive Care Unit.
Public concern for Garcia, 49, began on Monday evening, when Hawaiian 1993 World Champ Derek Ho took to Instagram to share a message of hope for his friend. In the post, Ho told Garcia to “hang in there” and “its [sic] not your time,” prompting many to offer similar messages of support for Garcia in the comment section below. The post has since been deleted from Instagram, but can be seen below.
Around the same time, a Brazilian media outlet erroneously posted that Garcia had committed suicide, which prompted some Brazilian surfers to express condolences online. But that report has since been changed to state that Garcia instead survived a suicide attempt and is currently alive in the hospital.
Later Monday night, the WSL confirmed that Garcia was hospitalized. Garcia is currently in the Intensive Care Unit of a Hospital in Portland, Oregon, about an hour from his current residence in Washington. Sources close to Garcia have confirmed his hospitalization is the result of an attempted suicide by hanging.
Garcia, one of the most ferocious and legendary competitive surfers of all time, competed full-time on the World Tour for nearly 20 years, and has continued to surf in select events since leaving the Tour in 2005. Over the course of his long, storied career, Garcia won the then-ASP World Championship in 2000, set the records for most Triple Crown Championships with six wins and for most ‘QS event wins with 22.
In the years since Garcia left the World Tour, the Hawaiian champion has faced various legal and personal battles, and has recently taken to social media to discuss his ongoing struggle with depression. Our thoughts are with Garcia, his family and his friends during this incredibly difficult time. We will update this story as more information becomes available.
If you or a friend is struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-237-TALK (8255).
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Doesn't matter what kind of mental illness you suffer from, we all suffer in silence and deal with it best we can and most people that don't suffer can't understand the pain and frustration that we go through:( I have a incredible life surrounded by people that love and care for me, and I get to travel to beautiful places to surf and meet different people from all over the world but I can tell you when I get down that none of that matters. I just feel like nothing or anyone can help me at the particular time so I just keep sharing my feelings hoping that it helps any of you out there that suffers from anything and encourage you to reach out and talk to others like yourself because this life can really be beautiful. If we all just talk and let it out so others see that it's ok to share and we are not alone in this suffering:) spent the morning curled in my dark closet feeling like I just didn't want to be here anymore but I know that this shitty feeling will leave and my day will get better and I hope you all know that your days will get better as well. you just need to find what gets you through those moments in life hope you all have a great day. Also thank you to everyone that has reached out and shared with me on my page I really appreciate all the love and support