Jay Adams, a legendary skateboarder who was one of the three main characters portrayed in the skateboarding movie “Lords of Dogtown,” died late Thursday/early Friday in Mexico from a heart attack.
Stacy Peralta and Tony Alva were the two other main skateboarders portrayed in the movie. Peralta went on to become a filmmaker and wrote “Lords of Dogtown,” with Dogtown being a reference to the area in Venice where he and the others were from and did their skating/surfing. Peralta also directed and co-wrote the “Dogtown and Z-Boys,” a documentary about the group of skateboarding pioneers.
Peralta broke the news of Adams’ death via Instagram Friday morning:
“I just received the terribly sad news that Jay Adams passed away last night due to a massive heart attack, send your love.”
Adams, 53, had been in Puerto Escondido, Mexico, on a 3-month surfing vacation with his wife and surfing buddies Solo Scott and Allen Sarlo. Scott told XGames.com that Adams stopped surfing Thursday because he was feeling sick and began having chest pains around midnight.
“His wife called us over in the middle of the night and we administered CPR until we could get an ambulance, and they kept working on him the whole way but he never revived,” Scott told XGames.com.
Peralta gave this quote about Adams to XGames.com.
“I’ve had the good fortune of spending decades in this sport, and he was the purest form of skateboarder that I’ve ever seen,” Peralta told XGames.com. “He was literally skateboarding incarnate, and the genius of it was he wasn’t the best at anything, he just was it. I’ve said before that he was the original virus that got so many people hooked on skateboarding. Now the original spore is gone, but that virus lives on in so many others. Jay’s passing reminds all of us and reaffirms that we’re connected. We’re all rolling down the sidewalk together.”
Adams’ character in “Lords of Dogtown” was portrayed by actor Emile Hirsch.
TMZ says it was the first time Adams had been allowed to leave the country in 20 years; he has been in and out of jail on felony drug charges over the past few decades.
Sadly, Adams’ young death does not come as a surprise. The rebellious one of the three, Adams refused to be a conformist and had a difficult time adjusting when sponsors became a big part of the sport. He got heavily involved with gangs and was convicted of assault in a gay bashing incident in 1982 that resulted in the death of a man.
Adams became a heroin addict and was busted in 2005 for helping a drug deal involving crystal meth.
Adams did a really insightful interview with Juice Magazine back in 2000 that I encourage you to read if you want more info on him. In this answer, he talked about his heroin addiction and his tendency to get into fights when he was younger. The language he used contains some profanity.
“The best fight is like the fight against addiction of heroin. That’s a gnarly fight because I let the shit take over me for a while and it became the main thing I wanted to do. It’s a fight to not want to do it. That’s a real fight to try and stay sober. As far as beating people up and shit there’s nothing cool about that. I used to think it was cool to go to a party and have people fear me and just be a crazy guy and usually that was alcohol-induced or drugs and shit. It’s not cool to go and ruin peoples nights and try to make them bleed. Maybe I’m older now or something.
“I was stuck doing heroin and self destructing for a little while. Kind of like this last year and a half or so I didn’t travel. This is the first time in a long time I didn’t. I let drugs take over and control my life and bring me down to some lows I didn’t even know existed. Mainly it was heroin and I suggest don’t do the shit cause you just might like it. I didn’t ever stick a needle in my arm until I was thirty-six and I always was against the shit. Then after I did it, I let it become my number one thing to do. Where that’s what I thought about when I woke up and I really let it fuckin’ become a big thing in my life, which it shouldn’t be. So I’m just saying that drugs are fuckin’ gnarly and they’ll take you down. Drugs are just bad. They’ve got no part in surfing or skating. I kinda mean more like hard drugs. I’ve never heard of some chick sucking a dog’s dick for a bong hit and going ruining their life over smoking weed. Crack, heroine and shit are fuckin’ gnarly. And I’m not saying to kids go out and smoke weed cause for me it’s just all or nothing. I’m pretty stoked on the way kids are now days. When I was a kid if you didn’t smoke weed and do drugs you were lame and now a lot of kids don’t do drugs and it’s cool not to do drugs. I just hope they don’t have to go through all the shit that guys from my generation did with addiction and shit to drugs because it did absolutely no good for me as far as skating and surfing goes. Even alcohol, a lot of kids think it’s cool to drink beer and skate and I think it’s just really stupid. It does absolutely no good for you.”