Skateboarding star Jeff Grosso dies at 51

Fans, friends, and family are mourning the death of skateboarding legend Jeff Grosso. The sports world is also grieving in light of the tragic loss. While, sadly, there have been other stars we’ve already lost in 2020 – with some even succumbing to the coronavirus – at the time of this writing, the cause of Grosso’s death is a mystery. 

Grosso, who was 51 years old, passed away on March 31, 2020, at the Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, Calif., according to TMZ. The outlet also noted that “there is no obvious cause of death at the moment” and that an “autopsy is expected to be performed.”

The skateboarding star was the father of an eight-year-old son, Oliver, who could often be seen on the skateboarding icon’s Instagram page. Grosso’s last post, which was shared on the day that he died, featured the father and son dancing and clearly enjoying the moment together. Hopefully, it will remain a happy memory for Oliver during this sad time. He certainly won’t be the only one missing the respected and beloved industry figure following his death.

Jeff Grosso was a 'skateboarding legend'

Jeff Grosso was among the best in his sport and was considered to be a “skateboarding legend,” TMZ explains, noting that he “shot to skate stardom in the ’80s.” After a struggle with drugs that nearly ended his life on three separate occasions, he became a “cautionary tale” for others, according to Thrasher Magazine. Due to the fact that, in addition to overcoming his demons, Grosso possessed awe-inspiring skill, he also “became an unlikely mentor to the generations that followed.”

Grosso eventually went on to host Vans’ Loveletters to Skateboarding, which saw him “[pay] homage to some of the most influential people in skateboarding.” Thrasher points out that Grosso established himself as a “lovable curmudgeon” while also being “unafraid to offend or annoy in his quest to educate” via the “history-packed web series.” The outlet even goes so far as to say that the role “was by far his greatest — second only to being Oliver’s dad.”

That claim is backed up in another skateboarding legend’s tribute to Grosso.

Tony Hawk wrote a touching tribute to Jeff Grosso

Tony Hawk may be one of the most famous skateboarders around, however, he was also a fan and friend of Jeff Grosso, which is why Hawk took to Instagram on March 31, 2020, to post a touching tribute to Grosso following his death. “Jeff Grosso … was a true skateboarder at his core, and a great wealth of entertainment, insight and valuable philosophy to a younger generation,” Hawk wrote alongside a video that included clips of the two friends throughout the years in snippets that Hawk claimed “exemplify Jeff’s genuine love of skateboarding and his renegade attitude.”

After noting that he “was lucky enough to skate with [Grosso] over the last four decades,” Hawk continued, “One of the last times we spoke, we talked about how ridiculous it is that we still get to do this for a living and that anyone even cares what we do or think in terms of skateboarding at our age. I believe Jeff is a big reason that anyone truly cares, and skateboarding was lucky to have him as an ambassador and gatekeeper to its history.”

Hawk also mentioned Grosso’s relationship with his son, Oliver, writing, “He was also a great father, which is obvious in his last social media post. Thank you Jeff, words cannot describe how much we will miss you.” 

That may be true, but many fans are still attempting to share their thoughts about Grosso and his death at this sad time.

Fans are devastated about Jeff Grosso's death

The news that Jeff Grosso had died on March 31, 2020, hit the skateboarding community hard and those who admired the athlete were quick to take to social media in order to pay tribute to the beloved figure. “There was nothing that Jeff Grosso wouldn’t do to uplift skateboarding & the people around it,” the Vans Skate Team tweeted. “To say his impact on our brand, our people & skateboarding was unparalleled, would be an underestimation of how much of a role he played in our lives. We’ll miss him endlessly.”

That sentiment was echoed many times by many others in many ways. “Jeff Grosso is my all-time favorite pro skateboarder,” skater Max Dubler wrote on Twitter. “Beyond his singular skating, his words and actions off the board showed a deep and reverent love for skateboarding and skateboarders, an uncommon self-awareness, and a wit that was never used in service of cruelty. RIP.”

Others gave Grosso credit for bringing them into a scene that they might have otherwise missed out on. “Two years ago I stumbled across loveletters to skateboarding. I was introduced to world of skateboarding led by Jeff Grosso,” one admirer explained. “Jeff opened my eyes to the world and the true meaning and spirit of skateboarding. It’s not about being f***ing Cool it’s about having fun. RIP GROSSO.” 

Just by being himself, the legend seems to have offered the kind of inspiration that many fans will miss. R.I.P. Jeff Grosso.

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