Professional surfer Kalani David has died at age 24 after having a seizure while surfing off the coast of Costa Rica.
David was on the Pacific Coast of the country when “apparently he suffered some kind of epileptic seizure and drowned,” Costa Rica’s Judicial Investigation Agency told The Associated Press.
Kelly Slater, one of the most well-known faces in surfing, was among those who sent their condolences to David’s family. He called David “one of the most talented ever surfer/skaters on earth” on his Instagram Stories.
David, considered a prodigy both in the surfing and skating world, died on Sept. 17, according to The Inertia. He suffered from Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, a condition that results in an extra electrical pathway in the heart that can cause rapid heart rate and seizures in some.
David has had to deal with his condition on multiple, life-threatening occasions. In 2016, he almost died after seizing for six hours before friends had found him in Oahu, Hawaii, according to BeachGrit. He needed to be brought to a hospital and placed in a two-day, medically induced coma.
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His first seizure came in a skatepark in Oceanside, California, just months prior to that. A surgery took place to have an extra heart muscle removed.
But for David, surfing and skating was all he knew, and he wasn’t going to give it up.
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“If it was life or death, and I had to choose skating or surfing, I’d choose death,” David told Stab Magazine.
The Hawaiian native was “one of the generation of young kids who are way better and progress way faster than action sports athletes of only a few years ago,” said his X-Games profile. He grew up surfing and skating and the profile says he was “a seasoned veteran at the ripe old age of 14.”
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David won a gold medal in the 16 and under group of the surfing ISA World Junior Championships in April 2012 in Panama. Freesurf magazine also noted that he probably had “hundreds if not thousands of trophies.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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