Surfing legend Vincent “Sunny” Garcia has begun to speak since his hospitalization in April and remains in daily physical, speech and occupational therapy, his daughter said on Instagram.
“With heavy hearts we confirm that Sunny Garcia is in the ICU in the hospital,” the WSL said of the 49-year-old surfer and actor in a statement to CNN.
“Sunny has always been a great champion of surfing, both in and out of the water,” the WSL said via its verified Twitter account early Tuesday. “Our prayers are with him and his loved ones at this deeply challenging time.”
The WSL did not immediately provide details of the location of the hospital or the reason for Garcia’s hospitalization. CNN has reached out for more information.
Garcia’s friend and fellow pro surfer Kelly Slater took to Instagram on Tuesday morning to offer his best wishes. “Sunny…I love you, brother. I just can’t even fathom you not here,” Slater posted on his Instagram account. “We’ve got so much more living to do before we are done.”
Garcia, a native of Oahu, Hawaii, learned to surf at 5 years old, turned professional at 16 and went on to win six Triple Crown championships as well as the WSL’s world championship in 2000, according to the Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame. In recognition of his career achievements, Garcia was inducted into the Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame and the Surfing Walk of Fame.
Garcia has also appeared in more than 75 surf movies, television shows and videos, the Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame notes.