American skateboarder Jay Adams dead at 53

SOPHIA PHAN
Last updated 13:29 16/08/2014

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Legendary skateboarder Jay Adams has died aged 53 from an apparent heart attack.

To skateboarding aficionados, Adams was known as the "original seed," one of the most influential skaters in history. He was one of the original members of the Zephyr Competition Team, otherwise known as Z-Boys.

The group was immortalised in the 2001 documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys and the 2005 biopic Lords of Dogtown, which starred Heath Ledger and Emile Hirsch.

The news of his death was confirmed by Stacy Peralta, another member of the Z-Boys. 

Directed by Peralta, Dogtown and Z-Boys recounts how he, Adams and their pals helped put skateboarding on the map with stylish, fluid, surfing-inspired moves honed in the banked playgrounds and empty pools of drought-stricken Southern California.

Dogtown emerged as a breakout hit at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won the audience and director's awards. 

Adams was reportedly on a "long surfing holiday" in Mexico with his wife when he died. This was the first time in 20 years that he was allowed to leave the United States as he had been in and out of jail on various felony drug charges, according to TMZ.

"The '70s and '80s were a different time. With punk rock there was a lot of violence and being young, drinking alcohol and making bad choices," he told Californian magazine Westside People last year.

Similarly in a feature with The New York Times in 2008, Adams said he and his fellow skateboarders were "wild and acting crazy and not being very positive role models".

He admited hitting rock-bottom during the late 1990s, following the deaths of his brother, father, grandmother and mother in less than two years. He said by then he was a "a down-and-out junkie".

Adams reportedly had no history of heart problems.

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- Sydney Morning Herald

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