Jeff Grosso Dead: Legendary Skateboarder Dies at 51

Jeff Grosso death

Facebook Beloved skateboarding legend Jeff Grosso passed away.

Jeffrey Blaine Grosso, the legendary skateboarder, king of ‘vert, and host of Vans’ YouTube show Loveletters To Skateboarding, passed away on March 31, 2020. He was 51.

Transworld Skateboarding reported that he passed away at his home, but no further details were given. Born on April 28, 1968, Grosso, originally from Glendale, California, was living Costa Mesa with his son, Oliver, who’s 8 years old.

Michael Burnett of Thrasher magazine confirmed the tragic news of Grosso’s sudden passing with a beautiful tribute on Instagram. “Today we have the terrible task of saying a heartbreaking goodbye to beloved verticalist, commentator and friend of the mag, Jeff Grosso. Jeff went from number-one amateur to 80s superstar to [the] cautionary tale and back again. His latest role as [a] 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.”

“Jeff could be as gentle and sincere as he could be hilarious and hard, (on the coping and himself.),” Burnett continued. “He ALWAYS skated with style. 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.”

Fellow skateboarding icon Tony Hawk said on Instagram, “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’ Loveletters series.”

Series Teaser: Who Is Jeff Grosso? | Jeff Grosso's Loveletters To Skateboarding | VANSJeff Grosso has a new show coming to http://Offthewall.TV and it's about anything he wants it to be about. January 2011. SUBSCRIBE: http://bit.ly/1aIFFTY About Jeff Grosso’s Loveletters to Skateboarding: Legendary skateboarder, Jeff Grosso's Loveletters to Skateboarding. Jeff pays homage to some of the most influential people in skateboarding. Sit back and feel the love. Discover more Loveletters to Skateboarding Content: http://bit.ly/1FWLiSP Read more about Jeff Grosso: http://bit.ly/2cnnSJu Jeff Grosso Instagram: http://bit.ly/2cC87CJ Jeff Grosso Facebook: http://bit.ly/2bP3fJi Connect with VANS: http://bit.ly/1uPubcu Facebook: http://bit.ly/29CDdc4 Twitter: http://bit.ly/29AT0Gz Instagram: http://bit.ly/29wXHB5 Snapchat: http://bit.ly/29tPZpI Pinterest: http://bit.ly/29tf1Gs Tumblr: http://bit.ly/1Rjvlt7 Vine: http://bit.ly/29HDMRB Google+: http://bit.ly/29ASVTm About Vans: Vans®, a VF Corporation (NYSE: VFC) brand, is the original action sports footwear, apparel and accessories brand. Vans® authentic collections are sold in 84 countries through a network of subsidiaries, distributors and international offices. Vans® has over 2,000 retail locations globally including owned, concession and partnership doors. The Vans® brand promotes creative self-expression in youth culture across action sports, art, music and street culture and delivers progressive platforms such as the Vans Park Series, Vans Triple Crown of Surfing®, Vans Pool Party, Vans Custom Culture, and Vans’ cultural hub and international music venue, House of Vans. Vans Top Athletes: Anthony Van Engelen, Geoff Rowley, Kyle Walker, Chima Ferguson, Gilbert Crocket, Tony Trujillo, Elijah Berle, Rowan Zorilla, Lizzie Armanto, Joel Tudor, Leila Hurst, Nathan Fletcher, Dane Gudauskas, Tanner Gudauskas, Patrick Gudauskas, Mikey February, Dakota Roche, Scotty Cranmer, Kevin Peraza, Dennis Enarson, Larry Edgar, Angie Marino, Jake Kuzyk, Hana Beaman, Mary Rand. Series Teaser: Who Is Jeff Grosso? | Jeff Grosso's Loveletters To Skateboarding | VANS https://www.youtube.com/user/VansShoes662011-01-24T22:04:13.000Z

“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 added. “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.”

Here’s what you need to know about the late Jeff Grosso:


1. One Day Before His Passing, Grosso Shared A Video Of Himself Dancing With His Son

View this post on Instagram

?That’s how it goes, everybody knows…? #odetoduane

A post shared by Jeff Grosso (@grossosucks) on

The skateboarding legend’s genes seemed to have been passed down to Grosso’s son, Oliver, who’s featured in multiple videos on Grosso’s Instagram. He wrote of his son on Instagram, “He saves me every day.”

Grosso’s social media pages are filled with either skateboarding pictures or photos of his son. Together, they went boogie-boarding, played soccer and, of course, hit the local skate park. Even though Grosso had multiple surgeries throughout his career, he still loved to skate, especially on a vert ramp.

Oliver’s mom, Vanessa, and Grosso were together from at least 2010 and welcomed Oliver together in 2012. It appears they separated sometime in 2018.


2. After A Tumultuous Decade With Drugs, Grosso Got Sober in 2005

How Jeff Grosso "Quit" Santa CruzOne of the most charismatic and handsome guys in skateboarding, Anti Hero Pro Jeff Grosso, also happens to be the most honest. Here he talks about his past drug addiction and what led to him "quitting" Santa Cruz Skateboards in 1988.2013-05-24T18:47:57.000Z

In an interview with King Skateboard magazine four years ago, Grosso opened up about his sobriety. While he tried every drug in the book after injuries from skateboarding, he developed a serious addiction to pain pills. “I was only on them for a short period of time,” Grosso said. “Being a recovering opiate addict, I only took the pills as prescribed and it came to a time for me to kick them. I kicked cold turkey.”

Grosso said kicking his pill addiction was just as difficult as kicking off hard drugs. “It’s all the same … Vicodin is an opiate. Heroin is an opiate … If you’ve been on it for more than seven days you’re going to feel the withdrawal. Some people with addictive personalities like me get extreme withdrawals and others don’t feel a f***ing thing.”

View this post on Instagram

Pizza Box gives no fucks! ? @mrzzz

A post shared by Jeff Grosso (@grossosucks) on

“Being a junkie is a young man’s game,” said Grosso, whose ex-wife Vanessa also struggled with drug addiction before getting clean, according to Transworld Skateboarding. “You don’t see a lot of old junkies and I don’t want to be one. It’s not clever, it’s not funny – it’s not even fun anymore. I’ve got other s*** going on. I’ve got reasons to live today.”


3. Grosso Absolutely Loved Hosting Vans’ ‘Loveletters’

Loveletters Season 8: Lance Mountain Part 1 | Jeff Grosso’s Loveletters to Skateboarding | VANSBack in 2009 Lance Mountain set out to make a TV show to pay respect to the generation of skaters from the late 1970’s. Guys like Bobby Valdez and Darrell Miller who didn’t become household names but nonetheless had a huge impact on Lance and skateboarding in general. The show never happened but we found all the footage and decided to cut the story together. Here it is… The Origin of the Love Letters with Lance Mountain – Part 1. MUSIC: "Made in Wherever" (Instr.) By: Dead Beach Parties With You 02:40:00 – 03:40:00 "How Did I Survive" (Instr.) By: Dead Beach Parties With You 07:30:00 – 10:00:00 "Golf" By: Schuylkill River Bandits 10:50:00 – 11:35:00 SUBSCRIBE: http://bit.ly/1aIFFTY About Jeff Grosso’s Loveletters to Skateboarding: Legendary skateboarder, Jeff Grosso's Loveletters to Skateboarding. Jeff pays homage to some of the most influential people in skateboarding. Sit back and feel the love. Discover more Loveletters to Skateboarding Content: http://bit.ly/1FWLiSP Read more about Jeff Grosso: http://bit.ly/2cnnSJu Jeff Grosso Instagram: http://bit.ly/2cC87CJ Jeff Grosso Facebook: http://bit.ly/2bP3fJi Connect with VANS: http://bit.ly/1uPubcu Facebook: http://bit.ly/29CDdc4 Twitter: http://bit.ly/29AT0Gz Instagram: http://bit.ly/29wXHB5 Pinterest: http://bit.ly/29tf1Gs Tumblr: http://bit.ly/1Rjvlt7 About Vans: Vans®, a VF Corporation (NYSE: VFC) brand, is the original action sports footwear, apparel and accessories brand. Vans® authentic collections are sold in 84 countries through a network of subsidiaries, distributors and international offices. Vans® has over 2,000 retail locations globally including owned, concession and partnership doors. The Vans® brand promotes creative self-expression in youth culture across action sports, art, music and street culture and delivers progressive platforms such as the Vans Park Series, Vans Triple Crown of Surfing®, Vans Pool Party, Vans Custom Culture, and Vans’ cultural hub and international music venue, House of Vans. Vans Top Athletes: Anthony Van Engelen, Geoff Rowley, Kyle Walker, Chima Ferguson, Gilbert Crocket, Tony Trujillo, Elijah Berle, Rowan Zorilla, Lizzie Armanto, Joel Tudor, Leila Hurst, Nathan Fletcher, Dane Gudauskas, Tanner Gudauskas, Patrick Gudauskas, Mikey February, Dakota Roche, Scotty Cranmer, Kevin Peraza, Dennis Enarson, Larry Edgar, Angie Marino, Jake Kuzyk, Hana Beaman, Mary Rand. Loveletters Season 8: Lance Mountain Part 1 | Jeff Grosso’s Loveletters to Skateboarding | VANS https://www.youtube.com/user/VansShoes662017-08-31T13:00:15.000Z

Grosso never lost his passion for the sport and still skated hard at age 51. With Vans’ YouTube show Loveletters to Skateboarding, which started in 2011, Grosso paid homage to some of the most influential people in the sport, and, best of all, he got to do it in his own special style. “When the show first started it was supposed to be this history channel of skateboarding thing but you know what? The history of skateboarding is so f***ing muddy and grey. So, now the show has morphed into a weird scroll through my demented Swiss cheese brain,” Grosso told King Skateboard.

“My goal for the show is for dudes to tune in, watch some old s***, have a laugh and get hyped to go skate with their friends,” Grosso explained. “If you tuned in and saw Mark Gonzales bluntslide on a curb or frontside invert on Max Schaaf’s ramp hopefully you picked up the phone and called a friend to go skate. That’s my hope for the show. We’re not trying to be the Smithsonian of skateboarding. We’re not trying to be fact; this is my version of skateboarding.”


4. Grosso Previously Attempted Suicide At His Mother’s House In Arizona

Despite his incredible success, Grosso struggled with his demons and overdosed three times on heroin. In an interview with Transworld Skateboarding, he opened up these dark times in his life.

He said, “I overdosed out in Arizona at my mother’s house, which is brilliant. That was actually a suicide attempt but whatever. I had been out for so long, that was one of those DOA trips. I had been out for so long, all your veins start to collapse. So they couldn’t find a vein to get the Narcan in. Eventually, they just had to shove it into my jugular. Right in the neck.

“So I woke up strapped to a table, my head strapped to a table with a pick line in my neck. It pops you right up. Like I said it’s like being lit on fire from the inside out. You wake right up like, ‘What the f***.’ And all these doctors are standing there like, ‘You idiot. Do you know where you are?’ I was like, ‘I don’t know. Australia?’ The lighting in the room looked like Australia to me.”

Grosso shared these honest stories hoping to deglamorize drugs. As a public figure, he was an open book.


5. Grosso Started Skateboarding When He Was 5 Years Old

View this post on Instagram

I’ve got to do these again. ? Kosik

A post shared by Jeff Grosso (@grossosucks) on

In an interview with Juice magazine, Grosso said his love for skateboarding was instantaneous. “My mom brought home a skateboard from her boss at work,” Grosso recalled. “It was a California Surfer board. Urethane wheels were already out, but I had this s***ty skateboard with clay wheels and s***ty bearings. I lived on a hill in Eagle Rock. It was super rough asphalt. I couldn’t stand up on the board, yet. I had no concept of that at all. I would sit on that board and roll down the hill. I was doing that for a few days until I dissolved the wheels.”

Grosso entered his first contest at age 12 and won. From that point on, he was hooked for life. At the time skateboarding was an emerging sport, but Grosso and his friends would ride around looking for new parks, then started skating on homemade ramps and pipes. He received his first sponsorship from Veriflex before traveling around with Powell, skating with Santa Cruz and Black Label.

After dropping out of high school, Grosso self-emancipated and turned pro for Schmitt Stix before returning to Santa Cruz. Whether he was making money or not, Grosso just loved to skate.

He said of the circuits in the ’80s, “It was killer. I got to travel the world and hang out with Hosoi and the Gonz, and the Texans, like Craig Johnson, Gibson, and Phillips. I skated with Groholski and all the East Coast dudes, Josh Marlowe and Fred Smith. Skateboarding, as far as the people that did it — was still super small. It had died off and everyone was just doing it for the love of it. Then all this money started coming back into it.”

View this post on Instagram

2001, Soul Bowl, ? @dusty_skates

A post shared by Jeff Grosso (@grossosucks) on

While his professional career had its extreme ups and downs, in the end, Grosso landed on top. In 2018 Vans built “The Grosso Vert Ramp” in their parking lot. “It’s super f***ing embarrassing that my name is on it but it’s very sweet of Steve Van Doren to do that,” Grosso told Thrasher.

READ NEXT: WATCH: Lindsay Lohan Says ‘I’m Back’ With Super Creepy Video