Mick Fanning has missed out on a fourth world surfing title on a dramatic morning at the Pipe Masters in Hawaii.
The Australian, competing just a day after learning of the tragic loss of his older brother, Peter, beat 11-time world champion Kelly Slater to reach the semi-finals.
But he was bundled out in the last four by defending champion Gabriel Medina, also of Brazil.
There was still hope for Fanning, who would win the world title if De Souza lost to Mason Ho in his semi-final.
De Souza held his nerve, though, toppling Ho to become the second Brazilian – after Medina – to win surfing’s greatest prize. The final is yet to start.
De Souza paid tribute to Fanning and his brother in an emotional post-victory speech.
“It’s incredible feeling. Special,” De Souza told reporters.
“I thought Mick deserved it more than me. He’s such a strong man and three-time world champion…I was fighting for my first one.
“The day of my life has arrived.
“I want to dedicate my first world title to my brother. He bought me my first surfboard for seven dollars and now I’m top of the world.”
Despite failing to win, Fanning’s amazing courage has won him many fans during another excellent season.
The 34-year-old famously survived a shark attack during the final of the J-Bay Open in South Africa in July.
The world number one was supported at the iconic Pipeline Beach by his mother, Elizabeth.
After beating Slater in his quarter-final, Fanning said: “The energy’s been amazing, walking down…almost in tears nearly every time I’m paddling out.
“I’m going through waves of emotion.
“A friend told me once, we can deal with anything. You’ve just got to stay true to yourself.”