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Fanning surfs on after news of brother’s death

Friday 18 December 2015 | Published in Regional

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Pupukea – Current number one surfer Mick Fanning surfed through into the quarter finals of the Billabong Pipe Masters on Hawai‘i‘s North Shore in search of his fourth world title despite the sudden death of his brother this week.

Fanning, 34, broke down in an interview after competing in the third and fourth rounds of the Pipeline event in Hawai‘i.

“I’ve just got some personal stuff going on at home right now,” the Australian said.

Fanning battled the emotions at Pipeline on Thursday morning after hearing news from home that his brother had died.

He emerged victorious from a tough round five heat against 11-time world champion Kelly Slater and Hawai‘i’s John John Florence moving him into yesterday’s quarter-finals where he again dispatched of 11-times world champion Slater.

His run of success ran out when he was beaten by Brazil’s Gabriel Medina 11.33 to 10.36 in their tense semi final.

Fanning earlier spoke about the death of his brother Peter Fanning on social media.

“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 said on Instagram.

“Like all my big brothers, Peter will always be a hero to me.

“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.”

Media reports say Fanning’s brother is believed to have died from a suspected drug overdose.

He was reportedly found dead in a Tweed Heads home on Wednesday night. It’s believed Peter, 43, had three children.

Earlier, the Seven Network reported Peter had been staying at Fanning’s Queensland home following his recent divorce.

A senior police officer confirmed to The Gold Coast Bulletin that a drug overdose was the likely cause of the 43-year-old’s death.

Mick Fanning has has more than his fair share of death in recent times, facing his own mortality against an attacking shark most recently.

A video of Fanning punching and fighting off a shark while competing at the J-Bay Open at Jeffreys Bay, South Africa, in July has been viewed more than 22 million times.

In August, Fanning’s mother Elizabeth Osbourne told Australia’s 60 Minutes of the pain of losing a child and how she feared it would happen again when Mick fought off the shark.

“I just saw my boy going down. That was absolutely terrifying because I have lost a son before,” Liz Osborne told Australian media.

Fanning’s other brother, Sean, died in a car accident in 1998.

In the first semi final, Brazilian Adriano De Zouza beat local Hawaiian Mason Ho narrowly to earn enough points win the overall 2015 World Title series – denying Mick Fanning of his chance of a fourth reign as world champion.

The final then came down to two Brazilians fighting for the honour of being the first Brazilain to be the Pipe Masters champion – and it was de Souza who prevailed on the day he also became to best surfer on the planet. - PNC