Nicky Hayden, the former MotoGP world champion, has died five days after he was involved in a cycling accident with a car in Italy.
The 35-year-old American also known as the Kentucky Kid was hit by a car on a training exercise in Italy last weekend, suffering severe head and chest injuries. On Monday, the Maurizio Bufalini Hospital, where he had been placed into a medically induced coma, confirmed that he had died.
“The medical team has verified the death of the patient Nicholas Patrick Hayden, who has been undergoing care since last Wednesday 17 May in the intensive care unit of the Bufalini Hospital in Cesena following a very serious polytrauma which occurred the same day,” the statement said.
The driver of the vehicle that struck Hayden was given a breathalyser test and was not found to have been over the limit at the time of the accident. Italian police have opened an inquiry into the accident, and the conclusions are expected in July.
Hayden entered MotoGP, motorcycling’s most elite competition, in 2003 and won the world championship in 2006, narrowly beating his friend and rival Valentino Rossi, who had won the title five times in a row. Hayden, who was born in Owensboro, Kentucky, transferred to World Superbikes in 2016. He was competing for the Red Bull Honda team this season and was 13th in the riders’ standings.
On Monday, members of the motor racing community paid tribute to Hayden, who was an immensely popular figure. The former Formula One driver Mark Webber described Hayden, the last American to win a MotoGP world championship, as a “beautiful person, genuine and real”. On Instagram, Spanish MotoGP rider Aleix Espargaró said: “Can’t believe [it] … The most easy and good guy i ever meet on a paddock in my life! Love u Nicky!”
Members of Hayden’s family, including his mother and fiancee, flew to Italy last week to be by his bedside.