Barona was in his home country competing at the time of his death on Tuesday (October 31). The 34-year-old reportedly suffered seizures while staying at a hotel in El Zonte, La Libertad, according to the National Civil Police via TMZ Sports.
"He was taken to a hospital, however he was already deceased," PNC wrote, adding that there was no foul play and "homicide is ruled out."
Barona began surfing at the age of 10 and competed nationally five years later, having won several national competitions and representing Ecuador at the World Surfing Games and Bolivarian Games, as well as regularly participating in the Men's Qualifying Series of the World Surf League (WSL).
Barona's sister, Dominic, had represented Ecuador in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and competed in the women's surfing competition at the 2023 Pan American Games this week.
"The Olympic Movement extends its heartfelt condolences to the Barona Matute family, following the death of the great athlete of Team Ecuador Surf, Israel Barona Matute. Rest in peace, champion...," the Ecuadorian Olympic Committee wrote in a translated post shared on its X account.
No additional details were made available as of Thursday (November 2).