Earning the nickname of 'The Kentucky Kid', former MotoGP world champion Nicky Hayden died in hospital on Monday, five days after he was hit by a car while training on his bicycle. The American professional motorcycle racer who won the MotoGP World Championship in 2006, was 35.
Hayden was training on the Rimini coast following a motorcycle race at nearby Imola when he was reportedly hit by a 30-year-old driving a Peugeot last Wednesday. Hayden hit the car’s windshield so hard it smashed. The motorcycle racer was taken to Maurizio Bufalini Hospital in Cesena where he passed away Monday. Hayden had severe cerebral damage and multiple traumatic injuries.
"The medical team has verified the death of the patient Nicholas Patrick Hayden, who has been undergoing care since last Wednesday May 17 in the intensive care unit of the Bufalini Hospital in Cesena following a very serious polytrauma which occurred the same day," the hospital statement said.
A picture from Nicky Hayden's Instagram taken before the incident occurred.
Judicial authorities have opened an investigation into the crash, but according to The Guardian, a Breathalyzer test found the driver was not over the limit.
Hayden was one of a long line of American road racers to come from the American dirt-track scene. In 1999, Hayden won his first Grand National Championship race (Hagerstown Half Mile) and took Rookie of the Year honors. He was also declared the AMA's athlete of the Year.
In a MotoGP career spanning 2003 to '16 with Honda and Ducati, Hayden posted three victories and 28 podium finishes in 218 races. Hayden won the MotoGP title in 2006, finishing narrowly ahead of Italian great Valentino Rossi.