Tamayo Perry, surfer in 'Blue Crush' and 'Hawaii Five-0,' dies after apparent shark attack

Tamayo Perry wearing a blue rash guard and surfing in Tahiti
Tamayo Perry, shown at a surf competition in Tahiti in 2003, died Sunday after an apparent shark attack off Oahu's North Shore. (Pierre Tostee / Getty Images)

Tamayo Perry, a surfer, lifeguard and actor with a resume that included roles in "Blue Crush" and "Hawaii Five-0," has died after an apparent shark attack off Oahu's North Shore.

The 49-year-old was surfing at Mālaekahana Beach lake, also known as Goat Island, on the northeast coast of the island, and died Sunday afternoon in the attack, Shayne Enright of the Honolulu Emergency Services Department said Monday in a statement to the Los Angeles Times.

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Honolulu Ocean Safety and the city’s fire, police and emergency medical services departments responded to the beach just before 1 p.m. after a caller reported seeing a man who appeared to have suffered "more than one shark bite," Enright said. Lifeguards brought Perry to shore by jet ski and paramedics assisted with the death pronouncement.

After the incident, Ocean Safety personnel posted shark warnings in the area, Enright said.

According to news station KHON 2, Honolulu Ocean Safety acting chief Kurt Lager said that Perry, whom he described as "one of our own," was a lifeguard and professional surfer “loved by all." Perry worked as a lifeguard on the North Shore and began his career with the Ocean Safety department in July 2016.

A surfer grabbed Perry after the incident and brought him to the island, Lager said at a news conference.

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"Tamayo Perry was a lifeguard loved by all. He was well-known on the North Shore. He’s a professional surfer known worldwide," Lager said. "Tamayo’s personality was infectious, and as much as people loved him, he loved everyone else more. Our condolences go out to Tamayo’s family and to the entire lifeguard ohana."

Lager also said that Perry was "an extremely talented waterman" and that he is survived by his wife and "hundreds of friends."

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi, who also spoke at the news conference, said Perry's death was a "tragic loss" and commemorated the lifeguard as "a legendary waterman and highly respected ... great member of our Ocean Safety team," according to Hawaii News Now.

"Tamayo Perry, an eight-year veteran of Ocean Safety and well-known North Shore waterman, exemplified bravery, commitment and a deep sense of duty, serving our community with unwavering dedication. His heroic actions and tireless efforts to ensure the safety of our residents and visitors will never be forgotten," the mayor added in a statement to The Times.

"As we grieve this unimaginable loss, we are reminded of the inherent risks faced by our lifeguards daily, and we extend our deepest gratitude for their service," Blangiardi said. "The city and county of Honolulu stands with our Ocean Safety community and will provide all necessary support during this period of mourning. We ask the community to join us in honoring his memory and to keep his loved ones in your thoughts and prayers.”

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Perry and his wife, Emilia, both professional athletes from the Hawaiian Islands, co-founded the Oahu Surfing Experience. The company offers surf lessons on the North Shore.

"The Ocean Aspect of Mother Nature is very unpredictable and it is important to have expert instructors to guide you," the couple's website says.

In a statement to The Times, the company shared its tribute to the late surfer.

"We all want to be the hero of our own story. One of the redeeming characteristics of humanity is our desire to follow our convictions always and without fear. Few of us are able to truly be that hero Tamayo Perry was, is and will be forever," the company said.

"He was everyone's big brother, stern and uncompromising with an infectious and kolohe smile. He was your rescuer in time of need, your safety when all things fell apart. He was a knight forged in the fires of the North Shore in the '90s, his faith in Christ the rock upon which he stood. Few are those who truly follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Tamayo never took his eyes off the path.

"Tragic though his passing may be, he left this world doing what he loved where he loved to do it. We find strength in knowing he is in heaven with our Lord Jesus Christ, trading barrels at Pipeline with his friends that have gone before him."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.