Yesterday, The New York Times reported that Andy Irons, a three-time world surfing champion from Hawaii, died Tuesday in a Dallas hotel room while traveling home to Kauai. He was 32. His death was confirmed by the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s office. The results of a preliminary exam by the medical examiner Wednesday revealed no trauma or reason to suspect foul play. The cause of death is pending toxicology tests, which could take weeks to complete.
Irons had been scheduled to compete at the Rip Curl Pro Search, an Association of Surfing Professionals competition that began last weekend in Puerto Rico. But he withdrew because of illness related to dengue fever, according to a statement from his sponsor Billabong. A virus transmitted by mosquitoes, dengue fever is associated with tropical areas. Symptoms include severe headache and muscle and bone pain, according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention.
While Irons was returning home, his illness worsened during a layover in Dallas. He was discovered in bed Tuesday morning by staff members at the Grand Hyatt Hotel at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport after failing to respond to a wake-up call. Hotel employees alerted emergency personnel, who pronounced him dead at 9:46 a.m. local time, according to the medical examiner’s office.
Dengue is caused by any one of four related viruses transmitted by mosquitoes. There are not yet any vaccines to prevent infection with dengue virus (DENV) and the most effective protective measures are those that avoid mosquito bites. Dengue has emerged as a worldwide problem only since the 1950s. It is endemic in Puerto Rico, and in many popular tourist destinations in the Caribbean, Latin America and Southeast Asia. Periodic outbreaks occur in Samoa and Guam. Although dengue rarely occurs in the continental United States, this past summer the CDC identified 28 cases in the Florida Keys.