President of Surfing Queensland John Charlton has paid tribute to Mick Fanning’s older brother Peter, after hearing of his sad passing.
The surfing champion learned of his brother Peter’s death before he took to the waves for his round three heat at the Pipeline Masters in Hawaii. Somehow he went on to beat local hope Jamie O’Brien to advance.
Younger brother Sean lost his life in a car accident in 1998 and Mick had a close encounter with a great white shark at the J Bay Open in South Africa in July.
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Mr Charlton said he thinks “Mick will probably harness that energy and use it like he did with Sean, he’s lost his elder brother, Mick was the youngest of the family”.
Mr Charlton called on everyone to respect Mick’s privacy “he’ll be on a mission to do this [win the Pipeline Masters] for Peter”.
“Give him the space and give Elizabeth the space because it’s a tragic loss for them and I don’t think the outside world needs to intrude on their pain at the moment” he added.
Mr Charlton commented that “they’re a very very tight family, Elizabeth, Mick’s mum must be just totally devastated to lose a second son and I know how close they all are and I’d say Mick would probably, like I said, harness the energy and use that in his quest”.
He added that he “keeps thinking about Elizabeth, Mick’s mother, I just keep thinking of her and how devastated she must be to lose the second of her boys, you know she had four boys and she was just totally dedicated to” them.
“I remember doing a story on Mick for Channel Seven when Mick was just a very young guy, up and coming young surfer and, just how proud Elizabeth was of her four sons so my heart goes out to her” Mr Charlton remarked.
Returning to the Pipeline Masters and John said he thought Mike would probably go on to take out the event after this.
Later Mick beat Kelly Slater and John John Florence to enter the quarters. Fighting back tears he said “it’s been a huge day, I’ve just got some personal stuff going on at home”.
“It’s kind of heavy to talk about right now. I don’t know, I’m just cruising, and just trying to live.”
The death has been confirmed by Fanning’s Rip Curl sponsors on the ABC.
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