Ricardo dos Santos, on the cover of our November, 2014 issue. Photo: islandeye

Ricardo dos Santos, on the cover of our November, 2014 issue. Photo: islandeye

With heavy hearts we report that Brazil’s Ricardo dos Santos has passed away after suffering gunshot wounds yesterday outside his home. He was 24 years old.

Reports flooded social media channels all day with differing accounts of the incident, but it appears that dos Santos was murdered by an off-duty police officer after an altercation during which dos Santos attempted to stop a group of men from openly using drugs in the street. After being shot three times, dos Santos was flown by helicopter to a local hospital. Doctors performed multiple surgeries, but ultimately the blood loss was too severe, despite waves of blood donors, eager to help save dos Santos’ life.

Local police have taken two men into custody—a pair of brothers, 25 and 17-years-old, with the older of the two suspected to have fired on dos Santos, and reported to be the off-duty cop.

Dos Santos was a fearless, world-class tuberider, who captured the surf world’s attention with an incredible performance at the 2012 Billabong Pro, Tahiti, for which he took home the Andy Irons Forever Inspiration Award. He was recently featured in a gorgeous, pristine barrel on the cover of our November, 2014 issue.

Dos Santos was widely loved by his peers, and his shocking death has cast the Brazilian surf community into mourning. From fellow Brazilian Adriano de Souza’s Facebook page:

“What about when you lose a great friend? What about when you lose a person so cheerful, with such a good heart as Ricardinho? I have so many good memories of him that it is difficult to choose one. But I want to keep in mind forever his qualities and his courage. Those we love never die, they just leave before us. May you be with God my friend and may you protect us from above.”

Our sincerest condolences go out to Ricardo’s friends and family.

Here is dos Santos receiving the AI Forever Award at Teahupoo in 2012: