His uncle, Clark Phelps, posted on Facebook on Thursday that his nephew "died suddenly and easily today." Further details on his death have not yet been made public.
Phelps became the editor of Thrasher in 1993 and was one of the most well-known figures in the skateboarding world. The magazine is known as "the bible" to skaters, and according to a 2016 California Sunday Magazine profile on Phelps, he liked to consider himself as the "brand personified":
Phelps is an unreconstructed punk rocker in a city that has little need or space for them anymore. He refuses to pay his Muni fare, instead slipping through the rear doors. He bums cigarettes everywhere he goes; he calls kids blood. He barks at strangers and screams at drivers. He sails through lights with an unearned confidence, directing traffic with cryptic hand gestures. He shoplifts candy bars just to see if people are paying attention.
He was known to brag about his violent close calls while skateboarding, including in 2017 when he suffered a serious head injury skating on Dolores Hill in San Francisco.