Derek Ho, First Hawaiian Male World Surfing Champ, Dead at 55

He belonged to a noted Hawaiian family that included brother Michael, also a top pro surfer, and second cousin Don, the entertainer

Laurent Masurel/World Surf League via Getty Images

Derek Ho, the first Hawaiian man to win professional surfing's world championship, has died at 55, authorities said.

The cause of death was not disclosed by the Honolulu medical examiner's office. He was reported dead Friday, NBC News reports.

Surf forecaster and news site Surfline reported Ho had a heart attack and slipped into a coma before his death.

The Surfing Heritage and Culture Center in San Clemente, California, posted a memorial on Facebook.

"Godspeed Derek Ho. Your presence and spirit at Pipeline will be missed," the statement said. "The first Native Hawaiian man to be crowned world champion, your passion, drive and good nature inspired generations."

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