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Top surfer Mick Fanning learns of brother's death during title chase

As he chases a fourth world title, Mick Fanning dealt with the death of his brother on Wednesday.

Australian surfer Mick Fanning.
Australian surfer Mick Fanning.

Updated at 12.00

MICK FANNING, THE champion surfer who in July survived a shark attack while competing in South Africa, is dealing with another personal tragedy as he pursues his fourth world title.

On Wednesday, just before entering the water for a third-round heat at the Pipeline Masters in Hawaii, Fanning was told that his 43-year-old brother, Peter, had died suddenly hours earlier in their native Australia.

Fanning, 34, went on to win the heat and triumphed again in the fourth round to advance to the quarter-finals, breaking down during an emotional television interview afterwards.

Another Fanning brother, Sean, was killed in a car accident in 1998.

View this post on Instagram

I am so grateful for the incredible love and well wishes that have come my way since learning of my eldest brother's passing this morning. Like all my big brothers, Peter will always be a hero to me. I have so many great memories of the good times we have all spent together and they will be with me forever. We recently caught up and he told me how proud he was of me and how much he loves watching me compete. Today was one of the most challenging days of my life but I knew I could find the strength to take part in the final event of the season because that’s what Pete would want. I also want to give special thanks to my other brothers – my friends on tour – for their support, I couldn’t have got through today without them. I would ask for some privacy on this matter while we come to terms with this devastating loss. Big thanks from our entire family. Tell the special people in your life you love them and give them a hug.

A post shared by Mick Fanning (@mfanno) on

“I am so grateful for the incredible love and well wishes that have come my way since learning of my eldest brother’s passing this morning,” Fanning wrote on Instagram.

“Like all my big brothers, Peter will always be a hero to me. I have so many great memories of the good times we have all spent together and they will be with me forever.

“We recently caught up and he told me how proud he was of me and how much he loves watching me compete.

“Today was one of the most challenging days of my life but I knew I could find the strength to take part in the final event of the season because that’s what Pete would want.

“I also want to give special thanks to my other brothers – my friends on tour – for their support, I couldn’t have got through today without them.

“I would ask for some privacy on this matter while we come to terms with this devastating loss. Big thanks from our entire family. Tell the special people in your life you love them and give them a hug.”

Fanning, the world’s top-ranked surfer, famously fended off a shark on live television as he floated idle before a heat at the J-Bay Open at Jeffreys Bay, South Africa, in July.

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