NORTH SHORE, KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - For the first time, we're hearing from the family of surf legend Andy Irons.
His parents say they're back home on Kauai, and want to extend a heartfelt message to the community.
Irons' dominated the waves with a force that's captivated the surf world.
The grief over the loss of the surf star touches all corners of the globe, triggering tributes like the online video montage created by award-winning surf photographer Brian Bielmann.
On Saturday, by phone, Irons' father, Phil, told Hawaii News Now that the overwhelming support has helped his family find some comfort.
"The outpouring of love for Andy has brought solace to the family, in our time of need. We just feel part of the larger Hawaiian ohana, and helped us begin to endure the feelings that are, our unbearable loss. It's such a long road ahead and we aren't sure how to take the next step," Irons said.
Irons says the family just came back home to Kauai late Friday night, after flying to Texas. That's where the three-time world champion was found dead on Tuesday, in a Dallas hotel room.
His family says he was sick from dengue fever.
"Held my son, kissed him, heaven almighty, he could've got up and left with us if he was still there, he was so perfect," said Irons.
As fans, and friends mourn openly, holding paddle-out ceremonies like the one in the Caribbean, Irons' family has this request:
"We ask respect for the family's need to grieve privately in our own time as we begin this long journey," said Irons.
It's a journey that has loved ones in shock - a sudden loss of an inspirational life cut so short.
Andy Irons was 32-years-old.
Irons' hometown memorial has been set for 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, November 14th at Pine Trees, in Hanalei.
The service will be on the beach, near where he grew up on Kauai.
There will be a huge paddle-out in his honor.