Nicky Hayden was one of the world’s most skilled riders on two wheels, but his skills weren’t enough to save him from a bicycle crash last week – and the injuries he sustained in the accident have now claimed his life.
For those who don’t follow motorcycle racing, the Kentucky native won the MotoGP championship in 2006 with the Repsol Honda Team, beating Valentino Rossi in the prime of his career.
He left the MotoGP series at the end of 2015 to compete in the rival Superbike World Championship (still with Honda), winning the second race in Malaysia last year and placing fifth in the championship. He struggled this season, retiring from the one round of the most recent race in Italy and finishing the second in twelfth.
This past Wednesday, Hayden was riding his bicycle near the town of Rimini (in the same region as the Imola circuit where the race was held) when he was hit by a car. He was taken to a local hospital with severe injuries to his head and chest, remaining in critical condition ever since. With doctors, due to his unstable condition, unable to operate to relieve pressure in his skull, Autosport reports that Hayden succumbed to his injuries this afternoon.
Our condolences go out to his family, friends, and fans around the world.