Nicky Hayden, former Moto GP world champion, dies aged 35 after accident in Italy
Last Updated: 23/05/17 7:33am
Former MotoGP world champion Nicky Hayden has died aged 35 after he was injured in a road accident last week.
The American had been treated in the Maurizio Bufalini Hospital since he was hit by a car while he was training on his bicycle last Wednesday.
The hospital released a medical bulletin on Monday announcing his death, having said last week that Hayden had suffered severe cerebral damage and multiple traumatic injuries.
Monday's statement read: "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."
Hayden was in Italy following a race at nearby Imola and he was transported to the Bufalini facility following the accident on the Rimini coast.
His mother Rose and brother Tommy had been at his bedside, along with Hayden's fiancee.
Hayden was born in born in Owensboro, Kentucky and, during a racing career which began at the age of five, he won national titles in America in road racing and dirt track, before moving to Europe to chase world championship glory.
The 'Kentucky Kid' made his MotoGP debut in 2003 and finished the season third in 2005 before preventing the great Valentino Rossi from winning his sixth title in a row in 2006.
The season has been described as one of the most exciting in the sport's history and Hayden, who was riding for the Repsol Honda team, eventually prevailed after a thrilling final race.
In a MotoGP career spanning 13 years with Honda and Ducati, Hayden posted 131 victories and 28 podium finishes in 218 races.
Having switched to the World Superbike championship last year, Hayden finished fifth in 2016 and he was 13th in this season's standings, riding for the Red Bull Honda team.
Hayden's brother Tommy said in a statement: "On behalf of the whole Hayden family and Nicky's fiancee 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.
"It is also important for us to thank all the hospital staff for their incredible support - they have been very kind."
A Red Bull Honda statement read: "Throughout his career Nicky's professionalism and fighting spirit was greatly valued and carried him to numerous successes, including his childhood dream of being crowned MotoGP World Champion with Honda in 2006.
"As well as being a true champion on the track, Nicky was a fan favourite off it due to his kind nature, relaxed demeanour, and the huge smile he invariably carried everywhere.
"The 'Kentucky Kid' will be sorely missed by all that ever had the pleasure of meeting him or the privilege to see him race a motorcycle around a track, be it dirt or asphalt.
"The racing world says goodbye to one of its dearest sons. Rest in peace Nicholas 'Nicky' Patrick Hayden."