Longtime Thrasher editor and skateboarder Jake Phelps has died.
Tony Vitello, the son of Thrasher’s co-founder Fausto Vitello, took to the magazine’s official Instagram account to announce Phelps’s death. He was 56 years old.
His uncle Clark Phelps also confirmed his death on Facebook but did not reveal any details about the cause of death.
Phelps was the editor-in-chief of Thrasher for over 25 years.
In an Instagram statement, Tony Vitello exemplified Phelps’s love for skateboarding in part of the lengthy tribute.
“Just as we need food and water to survive, Jake needed skateboarding to keep his blood pumping,” he said,”It was more than a hobby or form of transportation or way of life — it was his oxygen.”
Jake Phelps was a legendary and inspirational figure in skateboarding, and began practicing at the age of 13. He became the editor-in-chief of Thrasher in the late ’80s after working for the skateboarding magazine shortly after it was founded in 1981.
Under Jake Phelps’s vision, Thrasher became he highest-selling and most influential skateboarding magazine. Thrasher’s Skater of the Year award is among the most prestigious honors in skateboarding culture with recipients such as Tony Hawk, Mike Carroll, Chris Senn, and Tony Trujillo.
Tributes have been pouring in for Jake Phelps from the skateboarding community and others who were impacted by his work, including 2018 Skater of the Year winner Tyshawn Jones.
— Dan Sena (@DanSena) March 15, 2019
Oh damn Jake Phelps died???!!! Wooow, i don’t even skate & I know this is devestaing. Got to chop it up w him in Utah once. Man….rip & god bless his soul.
— ?NG Shamen (@questlove) March 15, 2019
19. First time in SF. About to bomb a hill. Def sketched out. Cadillac pulls up. Driver yells “Charge it, charge it, get some, cmon pussy!”
RIP Jake Phelps ???
— Anthony Pappalardo (@anthonypops) March 15, 2019
Jake Phelps, editor of Thrasher for the last 26 years, passed away earlier today. “People always call me an asshole,” Phelps told @willystaley in 2016. “That’s because I don’t stop.” https://t.co/OTFs9LKgfz
— California Sunday (@CalSunday) March 15, 2019
Jake Phelps never married or had children. He is remembered for his passion for skateboarding and the ability to inspire others. No details about his cause of death have been released.