CESENA, Italy – Former MotoGP champion Nicky Hayden died on Monday as the result of injuries he suffered after being struck by a car while riding a bicycle in Italy on May 17.
He was only 35 years old. His fiancée Jackie, mother Rose and brother Tommy were at his side.
Hayden, from Owensboro, Ky., was struck by a car while training on his bicycle between Tavoleto and Riccione, south of the resort town of Rimini. He was taken by ambulance to a hospital near Rimini for treatment before being transferred to Maurizio Bufalini Hospital in Cesena, where he died of his injuries on Monday.
Known as the Kentucky Kid, Hayden won the 2006 MotoGP world championship with three victories that season. He competed in MotoGP from 2003-’15.
Hayden began racing in the World Superbike Championship in 2016, joining the Red Bull Honda World Superbike team. He scored his lone World Superbike victory last year at the Sepang Int’l Circuit.
Tommy Hayden, Nicky’s brother, released a statement Monday afternoon on behalf of his family.
“On behalf of the whole Hayden family and Nicky’s fiancée Jackie I would like to thank everyone for their messages of support – it has been a great comfort to us all knowing that Nicky has touched so many people’s lives in such a positive way,” Tommy Hayden said.
“Although this is obviously a sad time, we would like everyone to remember Nicky at his happiest – riding a motorcycle. 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.
“Apart from these public memories, we will also have many great and happy memories of Nicky at home in Kentucky, in the heart of the family. We will all miss him terribly.
“It is also important for us to thank all the hospital staff for their incredible support – they have been very kind. With the further support of the authorities in the coming days we hope to have Nicky home soon.”
Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles also expressed his condolences to Hayden’s family. Hayden raced in six of the eight Red Bull Indianapolis GP events at IMS from 2008-’15, competing for Repsol Honda, Ducati and the Aspar Racing Team. His finished on the podium in his first two starts at IMS, placing second in 2008 with Repsol Honda and third in 2009 with Ducati.
“Everyone at IMS mourns the loss of our friend Nicky Hayden,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “When you met Nicky, you immediately felt you had known him for years. His humility and sincerity always made genuine connections with everyone, as he truly was one of the nicest guys you could ever meet in racing. Nicky was a tireless ambassador for MotoGP at the Speedway and a passionate supporter of all events at IMS.
“When MotoGP first came to IMS in 2008, we soon learned family and his beloved Owensboro meant everything to Nicky. We offer our thoughts, prayers and condolences to his parents, Rose and Earl; his fiancée, Jackie; his brothers, Tommy and Roger; his sisters, Jenny and Kathleen; and to all his friends, teammates and legions of fans around the world. He will always be remembered fondly at IMS.”