The heartbroken girlfriend of champion Australian snowboarder Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin has penned an emotional letter to her “beautiful man” following his shock death on the Gold Coast yesterday.
The 32-year-old, a two-time world champion and three-time Olympian, drowned while free-diving and spearfishing at the artificial reef in Palm beach around 10.30am on Wednesday.
Police say another diver found Pullin unresponsive at the bottom of the sea floor and raised the alarm with other surfers who helped bring him to shore.
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Lifeguards then performed CPR before paramedics arrived on scene, however despite their desperate attempts to save him, he could not be revived.
It’s understood Pullin’s girlfriend Ellidy Vlug and her mother made the tragic discovery after seeing all of the emergency services on the beach.
In a heartbreaking note posted on the front door of the couple’s southern Gold Coast home on Thursday morning, Ellidy described Chumpy as her “beautiful man” and requested people respect her privacy during this difficult time.
“Dear media,” the note begins.
“Thank you for your thoughts. This is a very difficult time for me and I ask that you respect my privacy during this period of grief.
“Know that Chumpy absolutely loved life and lived life to the full. He lived for us – his family, our puppy Rummi, our amazing friends and the home we made together.
“He was living his dream, our dream. I am eternally grateful that I have lived my life with him and I am deeply saddened that his life has been cut short.
“Rest in peace my beautiful man. Kind regards, Ellidy.”
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Hundreds of tributes for the much-loved snowboarder, who was the country’s flag bearer at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia, have since been posted on social media.
The Australian Olympic team described the 32-year-old as “an incredible athlete, beloved teammate and role model”.
“Three-time Olympian, Australian Flagbearer at Sochi 2014 and two-time World Champion. An incredible athlete, beloved teammate and role model, you will be sorely missed. Rest In Peace,” the team tweeted.
Gold Coast surfer Mick Fanning said Pullin was “full of life, always smiling and full of energy”.
“He accomplished so much in his sport but the work that he put in and the dedication to his craft was second to none. I’ve never seen someone work as hard as Chumpy,” Fanning wrote alongside a series of images.
“In saying that his humbleness and joy for life was inspiring. Am honoured to have known him. Sending love to his family and his beautiful girlfriend @ellidy_ Where ever you are mate I know you’re making it better place. Much love.”
A report will be prepared for the coroner.