Legendary Brazilian surfer Marcio Freire has died at the age of 47 following a surfing accident. Freire was visiting Nazare, Portugal, one of the most famous locations in the world for surfers, when he fell from his board while attempting to ride a wave.
The waves in the Portuguese town are known to be some of the most challenging in the world to conquer. Freire was an established name in the sport, having featured in the 2016 documentary ‘Mad Dogs’, which followed him and fellow surfers as they attempted to ride the ‘Jaws’ wave in Hawaii.
His death has prompted tributes from his fellow surfers and admirers of the sport. Freire’s death at Nazare is the first to be recorded while attempting the wave.
But what happened in Portugal - and who has paid tribute? Here’s everything you need to know.
What happened to Marcio Freire in Portugal?
Freire was attempting to ride the Atlantic waves in the Nazare Canyon on Thursday 5 January, when he fell from his board mid-surf. In a statement, the National Maritime Authority said: “A 47-year-old man of Brazilian nationality died this afternoon after falling while practising surfing in Praia do Norte.
“The rescuers found that the victim was in cardio-respiratory arrest, immediately starting resuscitation manoeuvres on the sand. After several attempts, it was not possible to reverse the situation.”
The agency later confirmed that this man was in fact Brazilian-born, Hawaiian-native Freire. Local sources also stated that conditions at the time of his death were not dangerous.
Who has paid tribute to Marcio Freire?
The world of surfing has been mourning the death of Freire. He was described as “more than an idol” by Thiago Jacare, a fellow Brazilian surfer.
Sports photographer Fred Pompermayer added: “Today we lost a great man, a very good friend and a legendary surfer, Marcio Freire. He was such a happy spirit, always with a smile on his face … Rest in peace my friend.”
Did Marcio Freire ride the Jaws wave in Mad Dogs?
Freire was immortalised as a legend of the sport when he took part in the 2016 documentary Mad Dogs. The film saw Freire complete what many thought to be impossible - he surfed the formidable ‘Jaws’ wave in Hawaii without being towed in.
The ‘Jaws’ wave is one of the best-known in the sport. The huge wave can see water climb over surfers at more than 100 feet high at its peak. It is located on the island of Maui, and is also known to locals by the name Peahi.