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Surfing champion Mick Fanning’s brother Peter dies, aged 43

n surfer Mick Fanning. Pic: Mark Kolbe/Getty ImagesThe brother of nsurfing champion Mick Fanning had died,just hours before Fanning paddled out tocompete for the world championship titleat Pipeline in Hawaii.
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Peter Fanning, 43,died inhis sleep, according toSurfer Magazine,although no further details were available about the circumstances ofhis death.

Fanning was reportedly told of his brother’sdeath before entering the water for the third round of the PipeMasters at Hawaii.

Despite the tragic news, Fanning went on to win the third and fourth rounds of the event, on Hawaii’sNorth Shore.

In an emotionalinterview after his heat four win against Kelly Slater and John John Florence,Fanningbroke down as he said he was dealing with some “personal” issues, although he did not saywhat they were.

“It’s been a huge day.Just got some personal stuffgoing on at home, and just yeah, it’s sort of heavy to talk about right now,” he said, his voice wavering.

Rip Curl, which sponsors Fanning, confirmed that Peter had passed away.

“This is a sad and unfortunate incident and is a private matter for the family to deal with,” a Rip Curl spokesperson told the ABC.

“We ask that the media respect their privacy. But we can confirm Mick’s older brother Peter has sadly passed away. We will not be commenting further.”

TheSeven Network said a close family friend of Fanning’s confirmed that Peter was staying at Fanning’s Gold Coasthome following his recent divorce.Peter is believed to have three children.

The World Surf League, which is the governing body for professional surfers, said it was aware of the reports that the 43-year-old had died on the Gold Coast.

“The WSL are aware of the reports but have not heard from the Fanning camp regarding them so we’re in no position to comment,” it said in a statement.

Fanning lost one brother, Sean, in acar crash in 1998.

Fairfax Media has contacted Fanning’s manager and family for comment.

Fanning held surfing’sNo.1 ranking ashe headedinto the Pipeline Masters, which will decide whether the nstar winsa fourth world title.

Fanning won his round-three heat against Pipeline specialist JamieO’Brien.In an interview after that heat,earlier in the day, he made no mention of the reported tragedy.

“Jamie is probably the best guy out here, he surfs it the most, so I knew it was always going to be tough,” Fanning said.

“I just got lucky at the start … and kept trying to improve that score and go from there.”

In July,Fanning wasknocked off his surfboard by a sharkwhile competing in the final of South Africa’s J-Bay Open in a terrifyingencounter thatwas broadcast on live television.

WhenFairfax Media spoke to Fanning’s mother at the time, she said she thought she was watching her son die.

“I was too overwhelmed to even think about what was going on for Mick,I just sawmyboygoing down and, you know, that wasabsolutely terrifyingbecauseI have lost a sonbefore,” she said, referring to the death of Mick’s brother Sean.

Mick has previously said that he believes Sean was the “angel on my shoulder” during his career, in which he has claimed three world surfing titles.

Last week,Fanning was among a group of surfers who helped bring young American Evan Geiselman out of the waterat the famed Pipeline break.

Geiselman suffered a bad wipeout and nearly drowned, but is expected to make a full recovery

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