- Former Australian surfing champion Chris Davidson was punched in the face and knocked unconscious outside of a pub
- The 45-year-old was treated and taken to a hospital, where he later died
- Police have arrested a man in South West Rocks and charged him with assault causing death
Former Australian surfing champion Chris Davidson has died following an assault outside of a pub in New South Wales, Australia, according to authorities.
Officers were responding to reports of a man being attacked at Sportsman Way in the town of South West Rocks after 11 p.m. Saturday when they encountered Davidson unconscious on the ground, The Guardian reported.
The 45-year-old had been punched in the face and hit his head while falling, resulting in him being knocked out, police said.
Ambulance paramedics treated Davidson on the scene before he was taken to Kempsey hospital, where he died a short time later.
Police later arrested Grant Coleman, 42, at his home in South West Rocks early Sunday and charged him with assault causing death.
He was refused bail and appeared in Port Macquarie bail court on the same day.
The circumstances surrounding the alleged assault on Davidson are unclear.
A crime scene has been established at the location of the incident, a report by The Sydney Morning Herald said.
A forensics team examined the scene Sunday morning, according to the Australian newspaper.
Davidson, who grew up in Narrabeen, won the 1991 Cadet Cup at the age of 15. He became the Australian under-18 amateur champion three years later.
Davidson then defeated American surfing legend Kelly Slater in two consecutive heats during the 1996 Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach in Victoria after being given a wildcard into the event.
“Beating him was unreal, the best thing that could have happened at the moment. He’s got something to lose out there. He’s the world champion, he’s surfing against someone who’s just come along and trying to beat him,” Davidson told The Australian.
Slater posted a tribute to Davidson on Instagram Sunday.
“Lost another soldier yesterday. #RipChrisDavo. Had many a good battle with this guy. One of the most naturally talented surfers I ever knew,” the post reportedly read.
Australian professional surfer Nathan Hedge, who surged with Davidson at Narrabeen, also paid tribute.
“He had a huge heart and lived full throttle. Love ya bradda Davo,” Hedge was quoted as saying.
Coleman is the brother of Darren Coleman, the coach of the Waratahs rugby team.