Peter Fanning, pro-surfer Mick Fanning’s older brother, has died suddenly on the eve of the world surfing title competition in Oahu, Hawaii.

Reports of Peter’s death were confirmed early this morning (AEDT) before Mick Fanning paddled out to contest his fourth world title at the Pipe Masters.

Fanning’s sponsor, Rip Curl, and Surfer Magazine were the first to make statements.

“This is a sad and unfortunate incident and is a private matter for the family to deal with,” said a Rip Curl spokesperson, according to ABC News.

“We ask that the media respect their privacy. But we can confirm Mick’s older brother, Peter, has sadly passed away. We will not be commenting further.”

Surfer Magazine posted a tweet stating that the 43-year-old brother had died in his sleep. However, the cause of his death is yet to be confirmed.

Peter is the second brother that Fanning has lost after one of his older brothers, Sean, died in a car accident in 1998.

Despite learning the tragic news just before competing, Fanning went on to win both the third and fourth rounds of the event.

In an interview following his heat four win, Fanning did not comment on his brother’s reported death, instead attributing his emotional state to “personal” issues.

"It's been a huge day. Just got some personal stuff going on at home, and just yeah, it's sort of heavy to talk about right now," he said.

Fanning currently holds surfing’s number one ranking as he continues to fight for his fourth world title at the Pipe Masters.

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