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Jeff Grosso, Skateboarding Legend, Dies at 51

Grosso hosted Vans’ ”Loveletters to Skateboarding“ since 2011

Jeff Grosso, the legendary skateboarder who hosted Vans’ “Loveletters to Skating” video series, died Tuesday in Costa Mesa, California, the Orange County coroner’s office told TheWrap. He was 51.

No cause of death has been determined.

Thrasher Magazine’s Michael Burnett also confirmed the news late Tuesday in an Instagram tribute. “Jeff went from number-one amateur to 80s superstar to cautionary tale and back again,” he wrote. “His latest role as lovable curmudgeon, host of his own history-packed web series and keeper of skateboarding’s righteousness, unafraid to offend or annoy in his quest to educate, was by far his greatest — second only to being Oliver’s dad.”

The day before, Grosso had posted a video of himself dancing with his 8-year-old son, Oliver.

“He ALWAYS skated with style,” Burnett continued. “His grinds were long, his backside airs were head high and his handplants were stalled out and sadder than a funeral. He will be sorely, sorely missed. Our hearts go out to his family and many friends.”

A rep for Vans, for whom he shot the “Loveletters to Skateboarding” video series since 2011 to spotlight key figures in the sport, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“Jeff was a true skateboarder at his core, and a great wealth of entertainment, insight and valuable philosophy to a younger generation. I was lucky enough to skate with him over the last four decades and occasionally featured on his Vans’ Love Letters series,” fellow skateboarding legend Tony Hawk told TMZ Wednesday.

“One of the last times we spoke, we talked about how ridiculous it is that we still get to do this for a living and that anyone even cares what we do or think in terms of skateboarding at our age,” Hawk said. “I believe Jeff is a big reason that anyone truly cares, and skateboarding was lucky to have him as an ambassador and gatekeeper to its history. He was also a great father, which is obvious in his last social media post. Thank you Jeff, words cannot describe how much we will miss you.”