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Jay Adams Dead: 'Dogtown' Skateboarding Legend Dies At 53

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In this file photo, Jay Adams arrives at the 9th Annual MusiCares MAP Fund Benefit Concert at Club Nokia on May 30, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jerod Harris/WireImage) | Jerod Harris via Getty Images

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jay Adams, who helped transform skateboarding from a simple street pastime into one of the world's most spectacular sports, has died at age 53.

Adams' manager, Susan Ferris, says the Skateboarding Hall of Famer died of a heart attack Thursday on a surf vacation in Mexico.

Adams rocketed to fame in the 1970s as a member of Z-Boys, the legendary group of surfers turned skateboarders who came together in a rundown, beachfront section of Southern California known as Dogtown.

Although the sport made him a legend, Adams said its early wild years led him to numerous bad choices that resulted in years in prison in the 1980s and '90s.

He had since turned his life around and had been taking part in skating events in recent years.

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