A two-time national ironman winner in Australia tragically and unexpectedly died after suffering a heart attack at just 47 years old. Here’s everything to know about the late Dean Mercer.
As an ironman competitor for more than 20 years, Dean Mercer was obviously in incredible shape — which is why it’s so shocking and saddening to learn that he is now dead at the young age of 47 years old. Dean was driving his car on Australia’s Gold Coast when he suffered a heart attack on Aug. 28. His vehicle crashed into a fence, and although he was rushed to the Gold Coast University Hospital, he was pronounced dead just hours later. “Dean was an amazing husband and loving father who loved nothing more than sharing his and [wife] Reen’s love of life and love of the surf,” his family said in a statement. “He will go down in history as one of Australia’s greatest ironmen.” Here’s what we know about Dean:
1. He’s been professional in surf livesaving since he was just 15. After coaching from his dad, John, Dean became a professional ironman when he was just a teenager. He won Australia’s national ironman title in both 1989 and 1995, and competed in competitions until 2010, when he was 40 years old. An ironman race is different than that of an Ironman triathlon, which combines swimming, biking and running. Rather, Dean’s sport is strictly focused on the disciples of surf lifesaving: swimming, board paddling, ski paddling and running.
2. He leaves behind a wife and four kids. Dean married ironwoman competitor, Reen Corbett, in 2003. Together, they have four sons: Brayden, 13, Rory, 11, Lachlan, 9, and Joshua, 6. Before Reen, Dean was married to Kaylene Costello (they wed in 1998).
3. He has family members who are also invested in the sport of lifesaving. Dean’s brother, Darren Mercer, won the ironman title in 1996 and 1997, and his niece, Jordan, is an ironwoman surf series champion.
4. He was given a great honor for his performance in surf livesaving. Dean was given the Medal of the Order of Australia for his service to surf lifesaving in 1992. He has also been a member of the NSW Hall of Champions since 2014.
5. After retiring, he served as an instructor. At the time of his death, Dean was the director of surf sports and coach of young surf livesavers (nippers) at Kurrawa Surf Club in Queensland. He was driving home from a practice when his accident occurred.
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