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What Will Be Andy Irons' Legacy?

Top surfer Andy Irons died in November. Will his legacy be his surfing or accusations of drug use?

Professional athletes are celebrities, and time and time again we have seen athletes' behavior and personal lives make headline news.

Most know going in that they can potentially be the top news story on TMZ just by walking through the airport.

Unfortunately, the children of the celebrities seem to be the ones who pay the price for their parents' behavior—and it's the negative behavior that gets the most coverage.

Take  and his family as an example.

On November 2, 2010, the three-time ASP (Association of Surfing Professionals) World Surfing Champion . He was 32 years old.

Andy was a competitor in the ASP 2010 World Surfing Championship when he reportedly became sick with dengue fever. Too ill to surf, Andy dropped out of the competition and headed to his home in Hawaii. It was during his layover in Texas when the unimaginable happened—he died.

Soon after Andy's death, the public became obsessed with knowing the exact cause. As rumors swirled around about a possible accidental drug overdose and the possible leak of autopsy results, Andy’s lifestyle came under fire.

The media was in a frenzy. Lyndie, who was pregnant with Andy's son, and other family members felt harassed by the media's phone calls, according to reports at the time. Some reporters even camped out in the family's front yard, worsening an already stressful situation.

In the midst of those trying times, Lyndie gave birth to their son, Andy Axel Irons, in Kauai on the opening day of the Pipeline Masters held in the elder Andy's memory.

Lyndie fought back against the intrusion into her life, asking a Texas court to seal the autopsy report for six months because she feared it would "damage the… surfer's brand."

She and her son are "dependent on the financial well-being of a company established by the celebrity status of Andy Irons," according to her request.

A Texas judge approved Lyndie's original request to delay the release of the autopsy report until May 20. Another request was made, and granted, to delay the release of the report by another 30 days. The report will be released June 30.

Unfortunately, the original request was viewed as admission of a drug overdose, and it only seemed to fuel the media fire.

Some believe that Andy may have been self-medicating due to the severe pain associated with dengue fever. Some believe that Andy was being Andy (he had a rumored reputation as a hard partier with a hot temper.)

And, some would argue he was a new man with the pending birth of his first-born son. Some won't break the unspoken code of silence.

I don't know Lyndie personally, but my heart goes out to her and her baby. The birth of a child can be the most emotional experience a couple can share. I can't imagine the emotions Lyndie was feeling when she gave birth to her son without her husband, especially with all the attention surrounding her husband's death.

Lyndie will always have a little piece of Andy in her beautiful baby boy. He may decide one day to surf, and he may find he is like his father, but I hope only in the best ways.

Rumors will swirl, speculations will be made, and truths may come out. Whatever happens, I hope Andy's legacy will be for surfing and not for his untimely death.

Andy was a gifted surfer, a gifted athlete—and he could have been a wonderful father. Whether Andy Irons was suffering from dengue fever or his inner demons, I hope his son's future isn't harmed by the outcome of the autopsy report.

Gold Trader May 30, 2011 at 07:05 AM
Surfers get hurt, they need pain killers, why cover it up?

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