Brazilian Adriano de Souza is the new champion after managing to reach the final of the Pipe Masters and overtaking Fanning in the overall points standings.
It is de Souza’s first world title.
Fanning, who led the standings going into the season-ending event, lost the first semi-final to defending champion Gabriel Medina, while 28-year-old fellow Brazilian de Souza beat Hawaiian Mason Ho in the second.
“The day of my life has arrived,” de Souza said after his semi-final win.
“In the middle of the title race, I thought Mick deserved it more than me. He’s such a strong man and a three-time world champion.”
De Souza trailed for much of his semi-final, but his patience paid off as he beat Ho 6.83 to 3.83 in tricky conditions, with few good waves on offer.
Fanning led for most of his semi-final against Medina, who produced a spectacular aerial full rotation to score a 6.50 with just over three minutes remaining.
Medina won 11.33 to 10.36 and clinched the coveted Triple Crown.
Fanning, who was back in the water a day after learning of the death of his older brother Peter, gave an insight into his emotions.
“Walking down and almost in tears every time I’m paddling out,” Fanning said.
“Even out in the water, just going through waves of emotion.
“But a friend told me once we can deal with anything, and you’ve just got to do it the best you can and stay true to yourself and things will happen.”
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