Jay Adams, the colorful rebel who helped transform skateboarding from a simple street pastime into one of the world's most spectacular sports with hair-raising stunts and an outsized personality to match, has died at age 53.
Adams died of a heart attack Thursday during a surfing vacation in Mexico with his wife and friends, his manager, Susan Ferris said Friday.
With his flowing, sun-bleached hair, explosive skating style and ebullient personality, Adams became one of the sport's most iconic figures during the years it moved from empty backyard swimming pools to international competition.
''He was like the original viral spore that created skateboarding,'' fellow skateboarder and documentary filmmaker Stacy Peralta told The Associated Press on Friday. ''He was it.''
But at the height of his fame in the early 1980s, Adams was convicted of felony assault, launching a string of prison stints over the next 24 years.