Brad Masters, one of the hardest working surf photographers in the industry, passed away on February 6. He was 41.
He was admitted to the hospital on Christmas day, 2020, with an infection in his neck. He underwent two major surgeries to clear it out but eventually, he contracted a superbug and doctors were forced to place him in a medically induced coma. The bug spread to his lungs and he ended up with pneumonia. Antibiotics weren’t effective, and a month later, he was still there, in a bed in intensive care, heavily sedated and breathing with the help of a ventilator. Masters, an Australian who lived in Bali, desperately needed to return to Australia for medical care, so the family started a crowdfunding campaign to ease the financial burden that comes with flying a critically-ill patient home.
If you’re a fan of surf media, it’s very likely you’ve seen his work. Masters was in the game for a long time, and it’s because he worked harder than almost anyone else. His passion shone through in all of his work. Masters also worked as a personal trainer and was extraordinarily dedicated to everything he put his mind to doing. (Click here to see some of Masters’ work from a 2012 gallery.)
On February 2, the family was able to arrange a Medivac flight, as Masters’ condition was rapidly deteriorating. He was admitted to Fiona Stanley Hospital in Western Australia, where he was listed as critical. At the time, although the situation looked dire, friends and family of Masters were hopeful.
“Brad is in critical condition but we are confident that he is in the best possible place and the doctors will do their best to make sure Brad has the best possible chance to recover,” they wrote at the time. “Brad has a long journey ahead and many months in hospital, rehabilitation before he recovers back to his former health.”
Sadly, although he was able to make it back to Australia, his condition was so bad he wasn’t able to recover. He died in the hospital.
“He had spent the last few days surrounded by the love of his parents in Fiona Stanley Hospital,” the family wrote. “He put up a hell of a fight but sadly he was so weakened that he could not fight anymore. We will take comfort in the beautiful and funny memories that will ease the pain over time.”
Our hearts go out to the friends, family, and anyone affected by Masters’ tragic passing. Donate to the family here.