Former world junior surfing champion Kalani David, died on Saturday after having a seizure while surfing in Costa Rica.
The 24 year old suffered from Wolf-Parkinson-White syndrome, a rare heart defect, that ultimately leads to a periodic rapid heart rate.
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His illness, however, did not prevent him from succeeding in sports and he practiced both surfing and skateboarding.
According to officials, David “was surfing when he apparently suffered some kind of epileptic seizure and drowned”
The Mail Online reports: Kalani was born on Hawaii’s Oahu North Shore and quickly rose to a ‘veteran’ surfer at 14 years old, according to his X Games profile.
He poured his heart and soul into surfing and skating, and when asked in 2016 to choose between the two as a career, he simply answered, ‘If it was life or death, and I had to choose skating or surfing, I’d choose death.’
The seasoned surfer suffered his first seizure in 2016 while skateboarding in San Diego, California. Later on, he had three more seizures after his heart briefly halted, according to The Daily Beast.
‘So grateful to be alive,’ Kalani wrote on Instagram at the time while he claimed he ‘fell on [his] face and woke up in an ambulance.’
Weeks later, he underwent surgery.
Sammy Marquecho, Kalani’s girlfriend, tragically announced his death on Sunday while sharing multiple pictures of their live together. She revealed Costa Rica was where the surfer wanted to start a life.
‘At a loss of words,’ she wrote on Instagram. ‘My heart is shattered without you in this world. My first & forever love thank you for showing me what true love & happiness was.
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