Shawn “Barney” Barron died on May fifth. He collapsed at his home after spending a day clearing weeds. His death rocked the surfing world, and nowhere harder than his hometown of Santa Cruz. According to the Santa Cruz County coroner, his death was caused by cardiac tamponade due to hemopericardium–in other words, a tear in Barron’s aorta allowed the sac surround his heart to fill with blood, which restricted the heart’s movement.
“A cause of that was acute and chronic methamphetamine use,” said Santa Cruz County sheriff’s detective Nick Baldridge. Barron’s father said that genetics also had a hand in his son’s death. “I have a history of heart problems, quite frankly,” he told the Santa Cruz Sentinel. “He was not a drug addict. He could have died surfing or riding a bike. The heart attack was coming.”