Missing Carlsbad surfer found dead in Mexico

CARLSBAD, Calif. -- The weeks-long search for a well-known Carlsbad surfer has ended after family members confirmed his death Wednesday.

Adam Francis D’Esposito, a 39-year-old surfer who also went by the nickname "Biff," went missing about two weeks ago. His sister Briana told FOX 5 on Wednesday that family members have learned D'Esposito died in Mexico. Officials recovered his body and took it to a morgue in Rosarito on Sept. 9, determining the cause of death was drowning.

But that official explanation has left the family with more questions than answers -- they note that D'Esposito's strength as a swimmer and a surfer make him drowning seem very unlikely.

"It is with great sadness and the deepest sorrow that we have confirmed the death of my brother, Adam Francis Kennedy D'Esposito," Briana wrote in a Facebook post Wednesday afternoon.

D'Esposito's disappearance prompted widespread interest on social media, including a post from surfing legend Kelly Slater, who joined the search effort by sharing a picture of D'Esposito with the caption "Missing Person" Sunday.

"A familiar face in our surf world has been missing for nearly two weeks, last seen in Baja Malibu, Mexico on 8/9 driving a silver Volvo station wagon. It really hits home when someone you know goes missing. Please, anyone with any info whatsoever call the numbers on this post and/or leave a message below. ... You may have seen ‘Biff’ surfing in Tahiti or San Diego over the years. He’s been a familiar face in many lineups," Slater posted on Instagram.

"He was a very charismatic person with a big heart, passionate personality and a deep love for surfing. He had a huge heart for his young daughter and enjoyed spending so much time with her in his last few months," Briana wrote Wednesday.

"The impact that he had on so many was incredibly evident to my family through your support, love and efforts to help us during a highly stressful & worrisome time. We thank all of you from the bottom of hearts."

As a way to help with D'Esposito's funeral expenses and to provide financial support for his six-year old daughter, a Gofundme campaign has been established.