The Santa Monica, California, native died Friday in a hospital in Puerto Escondido, in Mexico, where he was on an extended surfing trip, reports the Los Angeles Times. It's believed he died of a heart attack.
Adams gained attention in 2001 when he was featured prominently in Dogtown and Z-Boys, an award-winning documentary about Adams and childhood friends Stacy Peralta and Tony Alva. The teenagers formed Z-boys in the '70s in the Dogtown neighborhood of Santa Monica and unwittingly pioneered modern skateboarding, which was heavily influenced by their surfing moves.
As he grew up, Adams was in and out of prison, often due to drug charges, reports the Times. However, friends say he had turned a corner in recent years.
In 2005, director Catherine Hardwicke directed Lords of Dogtown, a somewhat fictionalized version of the trio's story. Emile Hirsch played Adams.
On Friday, Hirsch Tweeted this tribute: "We lost a true wild man with the passing of Jayboy. Jay Adams was a legend who will be missed."
We lost a true wild man with the passing of Jayboy. Jay Adams was a legend who will be missed.— Emile Hirsch (@EmileHirsch) August 15, 2014
Professional skateboarder Tony Hawk also Tweeted two memorials to Adams on Friday.
"Goodbye Jay Adams. Thank you for inspiring us to get vertical and to keep pushing the limits of what is possible." he wrote.
Goodbye Jay Adams. Thank you for inspiring us to get vertical and to keep pushing the limits of what is possible. pic.twitter.com/ezBW7ZwdtI— Tony Hawk (@tonyhawk) August 15, 2014
In another, Hawk slyly paid homage to Adams's anti-authority streak (warning: irreverent, NSFW pic).
"This one's for Jay Adams; still out here thanks to you. Skating is still the best thing ever, even on days like this."