Keith Hufnagel Dead: Legendary Skateboarder Dies at 46

Getty Former professional skateboarder Keith Hufnagel died at age 46.

Skateboarding legend Keith Hufnagel died earlier this week, as confirmed by USA Skateboarding on September 24. He was 46.

Hufnagel’s cause of death stemmed from his battle with brain cancer, according to TMZ. The iconic skateboarder and HUF retail founder was first diagnosed with brain cancer two-and-a-half years ago.

USA Skateboarding shared a heartfelt tribute to Hufnagel, who was largely considered one of the most influential skateboarders of all time. They tweeted, “We are devastated to hear that Keith Hufnagel has passed away. His impact on skateboarding, both on his board and off it as a designer, brand owner/founder and friend will live forever. Rest in peace, Keith.”

Hufnagel is survived by his wife, Mariellen Olson Hufnagel, and their two children. Here’s what you need to know about Keith Hufnagel:


Hufnagel’s Brand HUF Worldwide Made Him a Streetwear & Sneaker Icon

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Silver Surfer @justindrysen @hufworldwideskate

A post shared by HUF (@hufworldwide) on Aug 26, 2020 at 11:09am PDT

In an interview with GOAT, Hufnagel opened up about his career switch from skateboarding to retail. HUF opened its first shop in 2002.

Hufnagel explained, “I was living in LA from 1998 to 2001. Keenan Milton (fellow pro skater and close friend of Hufnagel since their DVS Shoes days) passed away and I was pretty bummed out. My wife and I at the time (his ex-wife Anne Freeman) said, ‘Let’s get the f*** outta LA. Let’s just change it up.’ We decided to move to San Francisco.”

“I’d been traveling for a decade, seeing what was happening in Tokyo, New York, LA, London,” Hufnagel continued. “I was hitting all these major cities and seeing this streetwear and sneaker culture happening. It was all over the place. I was like, ‘Well, I’d like to do a streetwear concept store of what I see around the world.’ And that was kind of how [HUF] got started.”

As for why the brand’s slogan is “F*** it,” Hufnagel explained:

‘F*** It’ was more of an attitude thing. Basically, it’s part of the company’s DNA. Skateboarders have more of a ‘f*** it” attitude, like we don’t give a s*** —we don’t care. Then it became a part of the brand’s DNA and it’s on a lot of clothes or throughout a collection. We’ve done high-end leather collections that say ‘F*** It.’ It’s a cool saying… There are definitely some people that don’t want to carry it because of the vulgarity of it, and then there are people who love it.

Nice Kick’s tweeted following Hufnagel’s death, “Huf was one of the most prolific 90s skaters and would later open one of the most recognized skate shops, @hufworldwide. He bridged the worlds of skate, streetwear, and sneakers in an authentic way that continues to have a lasting impact today. #RIPHUF.”


Hufnagel Continuously Showed Love to His Wife & Children on Instagram

When Hufnagel wasn’t sharing killer skateboarding videos with his nearly 100,000 followers on Instagram, or debuting new gear on HUF’s Instagram page, where the brand has 1.5 million followers, he was posting heartfelt tributes to his wife, Mariellen, and their kids.

In May, Hufnagel shared a picture of his family with the caption, “Happy Mother’s Day to my beautiful wife @mariellen_olson Thanks for being an awesome mom and taking care of all of us.” For her birthday in April, Hufnagel joked about having to celebrate during the coronavirus pandemic. He wrote, “Thanks for taking care of our family through these crazy times as the world has gone mad. Love you. Thanks for getting all the TP at Costco also.”

Hufnagel also recently celebrated his son Keena’s seventh birthday with a throwback baby photo in March. The family’s holiday card on Instagram featured a picture of his son and daughter.


Tributes to Hufnagel & His Skateboarding Legacy Filled Social Media


Keith Hufnagel : REAL To Reel '01"The first time I met Huf was in LA on a short trip filming for REAL to Reel. His skating makes you feel cool, that's the best way I can describe it. Big pop, fast skating. Filming for REAL to Reel was rad. The team was so small at the time and filming with Wolfe…2018-02-28T17:09:16Z

The seemingly sudden death of Hufnagel sent shockwaves through social media. Fellow skateboarders, friends, fans, and former collaborators tweeted out special tributes to the groundbreaking athlete and posted heartfelt messages to his family on Instagram.

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