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Ex-Ironman Champion Dean Mercer Dies Of Heart Attack, Car Crash On Gold Coast Full view

GOLD COAST - OCTOBER 19: Dean Mercer in the ski leg of the Ironman race during the Kellogg's Nutri-Grain IronMan Series Trials held at Coolongatta Beach on the Gold Coast, Australia on October 19, 2002. (Photo by Jonathan Wood/Getty Images)

Ex-Ironman Champion Dean Mercer Dies Of Heart Attack, Car Crash On Gold Coast

Former Australian Ironman champion Dean Mercer died Monday morning after his car collided into a fence on the Gold Coast. He was 47.

Ironman Dean Mercer Death News

According to a Queensland Ambulance Service spokeswoman, Mercer suffered a heart attack before his vehicle crashed outside a Mermaid Waters shopping center.

The family of the two-time Australian Ironman champion — who boasted a 40-year career in surf lifesaving — released a statement.

“Dean had been returning home from his regular earlier morning training session with a masters group at Kurrawa surf club — where he is the director of surf sports.”

“He was to call in and buy groceries for the family when he suffered a cardiac arrest at the wheel of his car and crashed into a fence on Markeri Street, Mermaid Waters … Reen, surrounded by close friends has had to tell her boys of the shocking news. You can only imagine the grief surrounding the Mercer family at this time …

“Dean was an amazing husband and loving father who loved nothing more than sharing his and Reen’s love of life and love of the surf,” the statement continues. “No surf was too big and no opponent too tall as he tackled the biggest and best in the business from his early days in Austinmer and Thirroul before making his move to Maroochydore and Mooloolaba and then to Northcliffe and finally to Kurrawa.”

“He will go down in history as one of Australia’s greatest ironmen who represented both NSW and Queensland and wore the green and gold of Australia.”

Mercer is survived by his wife Reen — a former champion ironwoman — and their fours sons: Brayden,13, Rory,11, Lachlan, 9, and Joshua, 6.

Mercer won the 1989 and 1995 ironman titles at the Australian championships, as well as a record-tying five New South Wales (his home state) state crowns, two Test of the Toughest titles and the world Oceanman Series.

His niece Jordan is the current national ironwoman surf series champion.

Mercer also finished second once and third twice in the Coolangatta Gold, a race he attempted to win in his 40s. He was also employed as a junior coach at Kurrawa beach on the Gold Coast.

Olympian and former ironman Ky Hurst led the tributes to his competitor from the surf lifesaving community.

“Heavy heart today losing one of the greatest athletes of all time,” Hurst posted on Instagram.

“Dean was someone I raced most of my career. I looked up to him as an athlete and as a friend.

“He was the perfect role model in every way. My love goes out to the Mercer family.”

Health and Sport minister Greg Hunt labelled Mercer a “legend in and out of the water, on and off the beach.”

Mercer was awarded an OAM for services to life saving as well as being inducted into the Sport NSW Hall of Fame.

GOLD COAST – OCTOBER 19: Dean Mercer in the ski leg of the Ironman race during the Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain IronMan Series Trials held at Coolongatta Beach on the Gold Coast, Australia on October 19, 2002. (Photo by Jonathan Wood/Getty Images)

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Written by Pablo Mena