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Eric Swenson, co-founder of Thrasher Magazine, commits suicide in SF

Jun 22, 2011, 7:52 PM EDT

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Eric Swenson, co-founder of Thrasher Magazine and an inventor who helped lift skateboarding from gimmick to art, was identified as the man who shot himself to death in front of a San Francisco police station on Monday. Swenson also co-founded magazines Juxtapoz and Slap, and skateboard manufacturer Independent Trucks, which produced components that moved the sport from sidewalks to skate parks and ignited its popularity boom.

Thrasher advertising director Eben Sterling, who has known Swenson for 18 years, said Thrasher magazine, started in 1981, helped establish skateboarding as a subculture.

“Before Thrasher skateboarding was just another trend like yo-yos, rollerblades and Hula Hoops. But now it had its own music, dialect and it’s own fashion style,” Sterling said.

Swenson’s partner in the skateboarding ventures was the more outgoing Fausto Vitello, the face of the company who passed away of a heart attack five years ago.

According to police, Swenson used a high-caliber handgun to shoot himself in the early hours on Monday. The reason remains unknown, although some friends speculate that he may have been distraught over pain from a leg injury incurred several years ago.

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Thrasher magazine co-founder ID’d as suicide in front of Mission Police Station [The Examiner]
Eric Swenson RIP [Thrasher]