SURFING legend Michael Peterson died of a heart attack at home on Thursday, aged 59.
Daily News surf reporter Andrew McKinnon said Mr Peterson, who lived in Tweed Heads South, was talking to his mother Joan when he died at 7am.
"He was one of the greats," Mr McKinnon said.
"He won three Bells Beach events in a row from 1973 to 1975, two Australian titles and in 1974 won every event he competed in."
MP, as he became famously known, was both a close friend and adversary of Mr McKinnon.
The pair went to Miami High School and competed in the infamous 1972 San Diego world titles.
At his peak MP stunned surf competition crowds with his aggressive, progressive and quite simply futuristic style.
During 1971, film maker Alby Falzon captured three minutes of MP "destroying" Kirra Point for his movie Morning of the Earth.
Several frames from this movie featured the tall, muscular superstar performing what became known as "the cutback".
One frame made the July 1972 cover of Tracks Magazine and has been unsuc- cessfully emulated ever since.
As documented in a later film, Searching for Michael Peterson, by Jolyon Hoff, MP was as socially subdued as his surfing was savage.
Mr McKinnon agreed, though said he became less withdrawn in recent years.
"He let his surfing do the talking.
"His style was so explosive in Hawaii, they didn't know how to judge him."
MP was diagnosed with schizophrenia and battled drug addiction, but Mr McKinnon will remember him as "one of the greatest surfers ever, and a great friend".
"I'll remember him as a happy-go-lucky, 'go for it' kind of guy.
"There was so much energy in his surfing, you couldn't help but be inspired."