Ricardo dos Santos: in the barrel, forever | Photo: ASP/Kirstin

Ricardo dos Santos has passed away at 24 years of age. The Brazilian pro surfer suffered a cardiac arrest after four consecutive surgeries.

The surfing world is mourning the death of Ricardo dos Santos, a talented wave rider shot by drug addicts in Praia da Guarda do Embaú, a beach located in Palhoca, Santa Catarina, Brazil. Dos Santos lost a significant amount of blood and was declared dead in the morning by the Sao Jose Regional Hospital.

"What can we say when we lose a great friend? What can we say when we lose a cheerful person with such a good heart as Ricardinho? I have so many good memories of him that it is hard to pick one," says Adriano de Souza.

"However, I will keep forever in my mind his high qualities and his courage to move on. I learned that those we love never die; they just leave before us. May God be with you, my friend. May you protect us."

Ricardo dos Santos was shot three times in the chest, lungs and kidney. The man who fired the lethal bullets is Luis Paulo Mota Brentano, 25, a military policeman. The 2014 ASP World Tour champion Gabriel Medina is shocked. His friend was violently murdered in his home break.

Ricardo dos Santos: a cheerful surfer | Photo: World Surf League

"Ricardinho, you didn't deserve this! Ever! Why does it happen to good people? I can't understand it! You were always helping the next person, always with a full smile. You were an example. May God comfort his family members," said Medina.

Ricardo dos Santos was one of the most popular surfers in Brazil. He proved to be an outstanding tube rider, beating Kelly Slater in Teahupoo and winning the prestigious Andy Irons Award in 2012. He surfed the Qualifying Series (QS) and several Championship Tour (CT) events.

"Ricardo Dos Santos was truly one of the great barrel riders of his short time. This was truly a senseless loss of life. It unfortunately brings to light the number of murders yearly in Brasil, officially documented at over 50,000 with many thousands more going unreported," says Kelly Slater.

"Lack of education, poverty, and drugs don't make for a good mix and make life challenging in this country, one of the most beautiful and scariest places I've been."

Feelings of anger and sadness are invading the minds of millions of surfing fans worldwide. Ricardo dos Santos was born on the 23rd May, 1990. A gun and three bullets destroyed his dreams, at only 24.

"We are all mourning the violence against my friend and brother Ricardinho dos Santos. He didn't deserve it! The world we're living in is troubled and chaotic. Nevertheless, my friends, we cannot give up although it may be difficult. We have to believe until the end that justice will be done! Nobody escapes the justice of God," wrote Alejo Muniz.

"I don't know what to say or think right now. Unfortunately, this happens every day in our country. People like my friend are getting killed for no reason. The good thing is that you lived doing what you loved and traveled with your friends (us). God bless the family and help them handle this situation. I'm going to miss you! Rest in peace!" concluded Miguel Pupo.