Los Angeles - 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 hospitalisation 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 TMZ.com website said Garcia, who has struggled
with depression for several years, had attempted suicide.
News of Garcia's hospitalisation 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’s been hard times but there have been so many good ones, too. Just praying you 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 WSL's World Champion in 2000 and he was only the second
professional surfer to amass more than $1 million 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 ready to take on
the world then a couple 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."