Andy Irons Andy Irons

Former three-time world surfing champion Andy Irons has died. He was 32.

Irons was found dead Tuesday morning in his Dallas hotel room, The Associated Press reports. The cause of death was not immediately known.

Irons was on a layover en route to his home in Hawaii. The surfer was returning from Puerto Rico, where he was supposed to have competed in the 2010 Rip Curl Pro Search. He had withdrawn on Sunday, citing an illness he contracted at an earlier event in Portugal.

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The Kauai native became a surfing icon after he won the world championships in 2002, 2003 and 2004. He was scheduled to compete next week in the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, which he had won four times.

"The thing that I think many of us appreciated the most about Andy was that he was an incredibly real person," Jodi Wilmot, a spokeswoman for the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, said. "He reveled in competition and in stepping up to the plate and I think that's something in sport that anybody can admire."

Irons is survived by his wife, Lyndie, who is pregnant with their first child.