Skateboarder Jeff Grosso Dies at 51: 'Skateboarding Was Lucky to Have Him as an Ambassador'
Tony Hawk called friend Jeff Grosso a "great father"
Skateboarder Jeff Grosso died on Tuesday at age 51.
Grosso died at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, California, an Orange County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson told the New York Daily News. His cause of death is pending an autopsy, according to the outlet.
Apparel company Vans also confirmed the news on social media. Grosso was the host of Vans’ Loveletters to Skateboarding video series.
“To say Jeff’s impact on our brand, our people and skateboarding was unparalleled, would be an underestimation of how much of a role he played in the lives of us all,” Vans wrote on Instagram. “From curating content that highlighted the global skate community, to his unique and raw commentary of the skate industry, and mentoring up-and-coming athletes – there was nothing that Jeff wouldn’t do to uplift skateboarding and the people around it.”
Continued the company, “Jeff Grosso is the epitome of skateboarding. We mourn the loss of our dear friend and our thoughts are with his family during this time.”
Among the others to pay tribute was fellow skateboarding legend Tony Hawk, who wrote on Instagram, “It is with great sadness that I share with you the passing of Jeff Grosso. He was a true skateboarder at his core, and a great wealth of entertainment, insight and valuable philosophy to a younger generation. I was lucky enough to skate with him over the last four decades and occasionally featured on his @vans ‘Love Letters’ series.”
The 51-year-old 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 called Grosso a “great father,” ending his post with, “Thank you Jeff, words cannot describe how much we will miss you. I feel like we’re living in the upside down.”
Alongside his heartfelt tribute, Hawk shared clips of Grosso that he said “exemplify Jeff’s genuine love of skateboarding and his renegade attitude.”
The former athlete had previously opened up about past drug abuse, including revealing to Transworld Skateboarding in 2017 that he overdosed on heroin three separate times.
Grosso is survived by his son Oliver, 8, according to the Daily News. He had just shared a video of himself dancing with Oliver on Tuesday.