Racer Nicky Hayden, a.k.a. the “Kentucky Kid,” died Monday, May 22, at a hospital in Cesena, Italy, after suffering serious injuries in a bicycling accident last Wednesday.
According to an official statement from the Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team, Nicky passed away at 7:09 p.m. local time, with his mother Rose, brother Tommy and fiancée Jackie at his side. He was 35 years old.
Nicky was a bright and shining star in the roadracing world, especially for fans here in the U.S., where his humility, open and genuine character, talent and dedication endeared him to the hearts of fans, teammates and competitors alike. He spent much of his professional career racing Hondas, including his AMA Superbike Championship in 2002 and MotoGP World Championship in 2006.
His brother Tommy released the following statement from the 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.
“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.”
Ride in peace, #69. You’ll be forever in our hearts.