John Fairfax, who crossed oceans in rowboats, dies

By

Published:

 

RENO, Nev. (AP) -- John Fairfax, the first known person to row alone across the Atlantic Ocean, has died at his Las Vegas-area home at the age of 74.

His wife, Tiffany, says the adventurer died Feb. 8 of an apparent heart attack.

Fairfax gained international attention in 1969 when he became the first person in recorded history to cross the Atlantic alone by rowboat. He dealt with sharks, storms and exhaustion on the six-month, 5,000-mile journey from the Canary Islands to Florida.

In 1972, he and his girlfriend, Sylvia Cook, became the first known people to row across the Pacific Ocean. He survived a shark attack and cyclone on the yearlong trek.

Tiffany Fairfax says the adventures demonstrated the "unbelievable strength and courage" of her husband of 31 years.