Nicky Hayden - courtesy DucatiEnlarge Photo
Following life-threatening injuries sustained after being struck by a car while bicycling, Nicky Hayden has passed away. Hayden, the last American to win a MotoGP championship, was 35 years old. Hayden's injuries occurred while cycling in Italy. He suffered serious cerebral damage and resided in the intensive care unit for five days before his death today, reported by multiple outlets.
Hayden, often referred to as the "Kentucky Kid," first began biking at the age of three. Following his early days, he quickly gained attention from Honda after winning 1999 AMA 600 Supersport title. The following year, Honda signed Hayden to the factory racing team. He went on to become the youngest AMA Superbike champion ever in 2002.
The Repsol Honda factory team took Hayden under its wing and catapulted him into MotoGP. In 2005, he took his first MotoGP win at Laguna Seca. In 2006, he became the most recent American to win a MotoGP altogether.
Hayden most recently rode with the Red Bull Honda World superbike team and was reportedly training in Italy when the crash occurred.
Hayden's death is a tragedy. He was a gifted racer, who left us far too soon. Our thoughts go out to his family and the racing community.