Former Surfing Star Chris Davidson Dead at 45 After Getting Punched Outside Bar

Former professional surfer Chris Davidson died Sunday after he was punched outside a bar north of Sydney. He was 45.

Police said they responded to a report that a man was punched in the face and hit his head on the pavement outside Sportsman's Way pub in New South Wales, Australia just after 11 p.m. Saturday, according to The Guardian.

When police arrived, they found Davidson unconscious. He was treated at the scene before paramedics took him to Kempsey District Hospital, where he died, according to The Guardian and the BBC.

On Sunday, police arrested a 42-year-old man in South West Rocks, New South Wales and charged him with assault causing death, according to The Guardian. He was refused bail in court on Sunday.

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chris davidson
chris davidson

Kelly Cestari/World Surf League via Getty

Surfing Australia, the non-profit organization that oversees surfing in Australia, shared the news of Davidson's death Sunday in a statement posted to Facebook.

"Surfing Australia and the surfing community are mourning the loss of former WSL Championship Tour surfer Chris Davidson, who passed away at Kempsey Hospital on Saturday evening," the organization wrote. "Davo was an incredibly talented surfer and a true individual in our sport and community. Our thoughts go out to his two children, friends and family at this time."

Surf Europe Magazine in 2010 described Davidson as "one of the spoiled child of the surf industry" as he rose through the ranks of surfing in the late 1990s. Davidson rose to fame in 1996 after he beat legendary surfer Kelly Slater as a 19-year-old wild card entry into the Rip Curl Pro competition in Bells Beach, Australia, according to the BBC.

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chris davidson
chris davidson

Kelly Cestari/World Surf League via Getty

On Sunday, Slater, 50, shared a post to his Instagram Stories honoring Davidson after his death, according to Australia news network 7News.

"Lost another soldier yesterday. #RIPChrisDavo," Slater wrote in the story, according to a screenshot captured by 7News. "Had many a good battle with this guy. One of the most naturally talented surfers I ever knew."

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Davidson competed on the World Surf League tour in both 2010 and 2011 and had a notable loss to Slater in Portugal in 2010, in which Davidson tied for third place, The Guardian reported. According to surfing publication Tracks Magazine, Davidson was ranked as high as 14th in the world in 2010, though it noted he struggled with consistency and experienced "a string of drunk driving offenses" during his career.

While police have not yet released further details about the incident that led to Davidson's death, the man arrested on Sunday will next have a court date in November, according to the BBC, which cited local media.