Former MotoGP champion Nicky Hayden has died at age 35, five days after being hit by a car while cycling in Italy.
The racer, who was also known as the “Kentucky Kid”, had been in intensive care due to “serious cerebral damage” after the collision at the Rimini coastline on May 17.
“It is with great sadness that Red Bull Honda … has to announce that Nicky Hayden has succumbed to injuries suffered during an incident while riding his bicycle last Wednesday,” Hayden’s Honda World Superbike team said in a statement.
“The ‘Kentucky Kid’ will be sorely missed by all that ever had the pleasure of meeting him or the privilege to see him race a motorcycle around a track, be it dirt or asphalt.”
Hayden competed in his first MotoGP in 2003, and ended Valentino Rossi’s five-year winning streak in 2006. He had participated in a total of 216 races between 2003 and 2015, and won three of them.
“Although this is obviously a sad time, we would like everyone to remember Nicky at his happiest — riding a motorcycle,” Hayden’s brother Tommy said in the team statement.
“He dreamed as a kid of being a pro rider and not only achieved that but also managed to reach the pinnacle of his chosen sport in becoming world champion. We are all so proud of that.”