Celebrities, sporting identities pay tribute to Dean Mercer

Ex-Sunshine Coast ironman Dean Mercer has died.
Ex-Sunshine Coast ironman Dean Mercer has died.

UPDATE 2.30PM: Maroochydore Surf Life Saving Club president Steve Wieland says Dean Mercer left an incredible legacy after just a year spent competing with the club.

Mr Mercer, 47, died this morning after suffering a heart attack and crashing his car on the Gold Coast.

The champion lifesaver's death sparked an outpouring of emotion from many.

Mr Wieland said Mr Mercer had brought a fiercely competitive spirit to the club, and his legacy had lived on in the club's culture, after Mr Mercer's year spent with the club in 2000, during which he was part of the World Championship winning team at Manly Beach.

LEGEND: Dean Mercer.
LEGEND: Dean Mercer. Getty Images

"He was just a fierce competitor. A natural competitor, but also fierce," Mr Wieland said.

Mr Mercer spent eight years at the Mooloolaba Surf Life Saving Club, from 2000-2008, winning four Australian titles.

Mooloolaba SLSC president Dave Jewry expressed the club's "deep sadness" at Dean's passing. 

He said Mr Mercer, one of the best known Ironmen in Australia, was a "well respected member".

He said the club's thoughts were with Mr Mercer's wife, Reen, his children and family.

Meanwhile a number of sporting and other celebrities have taken to Twitter to express their sadness at the news of Mr Mercer's death.

Surf Life Saving legend Ky Hurst, cyclist Robbie McEwen and Federal MP Greg Hunt are among those who have paid tribute to Mr Mercer.

The ABC has reported the Mercer family released a statement following Mr Mercer's death this morning.

"It is with great sadness and grief that we advise that our beloved Dean - loving husband of Reen and devoted father to their four boys Brayden, 13, Rory, 11, Lachlan, 9, and Joshua, 6, passed away earlier today," the statement said.

"You can only imagine the grief surrounding the Mercer family at this time."

It was reported Mr Mercer had been returning home from an early morning training session at Kurrawa Surf Club and was heading to do some grocery shopping when he suffered a heart attack behind the wheel and crashed his car through the fence of a Mermaid Waters property.

UPDATE 1.30PM: TRIBUTES are flooding in for champion ex-Sunshine Coast ironman Dean Mercer.

Mr Mercer, 47, died after a Gold Coast car crash this morning.

He was believed to have suffered a heart attack behind the wheel and was taken to Gold Coast University Hospital, but sadly could not be saved.

Mr Mercer and his brother, Darren, were household names, giants of the sport, and tributes are flowing from the surf lifesaving community for the champion athlete.

Ralph Devlin OAM, a former Surf Life Saving Australia president, described Mr Mercer as a "great champion".

Mr Mercer grew up in Thirroul, New South Wales, where he forged a reputation as a fierce competitor.

He competed for both Mooloolaba and Maroochydore when he relocated to the Sunshine Coast, and was most recently coaching at Kurrawa.

The dual Australian champion is survived by his wife Reen, a former champion ironwoman herself, and their four sons.

"He was a great champion and a much-loved figure among the athletes," Mr Devlin, a Maroochydore SLSC life member, said after hearing of Mr Mercer's death.

Mr Devlin said Mr Mercer had been a "fierce competitor" but a "good bloke as well" and would be remembered for his contributions to the life saving movement.

DEAD: A high-profile former Sunshine Coast athlete has died in a crash on the Gold Coast today.
DEAD: A high-profile former Sunshine Coast athlete has died in a crash on the Gold Coast today. Jack Harbour

Mr Mercer won an OAM for his services to life saving and was a New South Wales sport hall of famer.

Surf Life Saving Australia immediate past president Ron Rankin, AM, said Mr Mercer was "one of the most outstanding athletes" of his era and no doubt "one of the most successful ironmen" of all time.

"The good thing about him was that he was always prepared to put back into surf lifesaving," Mr Rankin said.

He described Mr Mercer as a good team man and "a lovely guy", who along with his brother Darren, gave back so much to the organisation through coaching.

"He's been an outstanding athlete," Mr Rankin said.

"It's a huge shock."


PROMINENT former Coast ironman champion Dean Mercer has died after a sudden car crash on the Gold Coast this morning.

The well-known retired athlete and Gold Coast resident was reported to have died after suffering cardiac arrest in the emergency room of Gold Coast University Hospital this morning.

His car crashed through a fence in Mermaid Waters just after 7am.

He was believed to have suffered a medical condition at the wheel.

IN TRAINING AGAIN: Dean Mercer is keen to have another crack at the Coolangatta Gold.
IN TRAINING AGAIN: Dean Mercer is keen to have another crack at the Coolangatta Gold. The Daily/Cade Mooney

Paramedics reportedly worked on the man for about an hour, before being taken to hospital, where he died.

Mr Mercer, 47, is brother of Noosa Heads lifesaving coach Darren and uncle of champion ironwoman Jordan Mercer.

More to come.

Topics:  athlete community editors picks general-seniors-news life sport sunshine coast

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