As RadarOnline.com has learned, the former world champion’s crisis came hours after he shared an emotional Instagram post about his life.
“If I told this kid the things he would go through and things he would achieve he would tell me I’m crazy,” Garcia, 49, captioned a photo of himself as a happy teenager holding a snow cone. “Wow it’s been a crazy ride since this photo was taken.”
The surfer — whose real name is Vincent Sennen Garcia — is currently receiving treatment at a hospital in Oregon.
It’s unclear why he was hospitalized and how he’s being treated.
“With heavy hearts we confirm that Sunny Garcia is in the ICU in the hospital,” the World Surf League confirmed in a statement this Tuesday, April 30. “Sunny has always been a great champion of surfing, both in and out of the water. Our prayers are with him and his loved ones at this deeply challenging time.”
Garcia — who is known in the Hall of Fame as “the most victorious surfer in Hawaii,” having appeared in more than 75 surf movies and video — previously opened up about his struggles with depression. In 2014, he shared an emotional Instagram post pleading for help and adding the hashtags “#needhelp” and “#whatswrongwithme.”
“Depression is no joke waking up feeling like you’re ready to take on the world then a couple hours later feeling down on life and wondering what’s wrong with you,” he wrote at the time.
He added that he knew he was lucky, loved, and had a wonderful life, but he still couldn’t shake his depression.
“Well I know I’m not alone and I’m not sure what’s wrong with me because I have no reason to feel the way I do,” he continued. “It’s been happening for about two years and would love to hear from any of you who suffer these feelings so I can figure out what I should do.”
After the news of his hospitalization, fans, friends, and fellow surfers took to social media to post encouraging messages, love notes and well-wishes.
“Sunny…I love you, brother,” surfer Kelly Slater wrote on Instagram. “I just can’t even fathom you not here. We’ve got so much more living to do before we are done. There’s been hard times but there have been so many good ones, too. Just praying you wake up and we get more of you.”
“Come on brother we need you here!” added surfer Jeremy Flores. “It’s not your time yet, you’re a warrior! Love you Sunny.”