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RIP Kentucky Kid – Nicky Hayden Passes Away in Italian Hospital

Former MotoGP and AMA Superbike champ Nicky Hayden passed away earlier today at a hospital in Italy, succumbing to very serious injuries suffered in an accident aboard his bicycle last week. MD staff express their heartfelt condolences to the Hayden family, his fiancée, as well as Nicky’s many friends and fans throughout the world.

You can follow this link to see several social media posts by fellow riders and industry representatives. Here are press releases just issued by the World Superbike Championship, as well as Nicky’s final team, Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team:

Statement from WorldSBK Press Office
May 22, 2017

Following a cycling incident close to Rimini on Wednesday 17th May, it is with great sadness that we report the passing of Nicky Hayden (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team).

Hayden was involved in a collision with a car whilst out training and was taken directly to a local hospital by ambulance. Following immediate treatment, the American was then taken to Maurizio Bufalini Hospital in Cesena for further treatment and possible surgery, where he spent the night with fiancée and team members beside him.

Every effort was undergone in order to provide Hayden with the best possible care, but on Monday 22nd May it was announced he had succumbed to his injuries.

2006 MotoGP™ World Champion, Nicky burst onto the world scene in 2003 just one year after he was crowned AMA Superbike Champion. Securing two podiums in his opening season, he took his debut victory in 2005 at Laguna Seca and sensationally reached his dream in 2006 as he was crowned MotoGP™ World Champion. Making the move over to the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship in 2016, Nicky stood on the podium four times for Honda, one of which was his debut victory at Sepang International Circuit.

The FIM and Dorna WSBK Organization wish to pass on its condolences to the family, friends and team of Nicky Hayden.

Statement from Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team
22 May 2017

 It is with great sadness that Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team has to announce that Nicky Hayden has succumbed to injuries suffered during an incident while riding his bicycle last Wednesday.

Nicky passed away at 19:09 CEST this evening at Maurizio Bufalini Hospital in Cesena, Italy. His fiancée Jackie, mother Rose and brother Tommy were at his side.

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.

Nothing says more about Nicky’s character than the overwhelming response expressed by fellow racers and his legions of fans over the past few days. Jackie and his family are truly grateful for the countless prayers and well wishes for Nicky.

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.

Tommy Hayden

“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.”


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63 Comments

  1. Richard says:

    A legend…..enough said

  2. Daytona James says:

    Race in Peace & God Speed both seem very appropriate to this great man. Sincere condolences to his family. Gut wrenching now but history will remember a gentleman racer who truly earned the title Champion.

  3. Ian says:

    RIP Nicky69.

  4. kjazz says:

    Years ago when I was fooling around with road racing in the now defunct CRRC club in Texas, the Haydens would show up at Henderson and Nicky would make light work out of cutting through EVERYONE during practice sessions. It has been very cool watching him grow up into a world champion. And now tragically his time has been cut short. How many times must someone have said to Nicky how dangerous motorcycles are……..? Yet it was a bicycle accident that got him. Heartbreaking.

  5. William Parker says:

    Watching Nicky win at Road Atlanta in 2002, the year he won the AMA title as youngest Superbike champion is among my favorite memories (along with him winning the MotoGP title of course). He was a champion at the very highest level of his sport and woulda been champion in any class – motocross, flat track, whatever…was born to ride a motorcycle. He be greatly missed!

  6. Vrooom says:

    What a shame. Racers who are nice guys are so rare. I imagine it’s easy to have a big ego when you have beautiful women holding umbrellas over your head so you don’t get too hot, but he always seemed down to earth. Rest in peace.

  7. Neil says:

    Saw him race the 600 at Loudon in his early days and then at Daytona when he moved up to the RC51. Met him in the Daytona paddock when he was there for Tommy and Roger’s races. A real gentleman. RIP Nicky.

  8. john welch says:

    Sadly…. rest in peace Nicky. My sincere condolences to all his family and friends. My heart is with you.
    Heading west on Via Ca’ Raffaelli at Via Tavoleto there are stop signs on the left and right side of the road and STOP painted on the tarmac. Hedges on both sides of Via Ca’ Raffaelli and along Via Tavoleto on the right side. Small intersection with poor visibility. The Peugeot driver’s view approaching the intersection:
    https://www.google.ca/maps/@43.9577355,12.673292,3a,75y,349.27h,90t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sdSu3QiUQIQJO446_enhilA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

    • George Krpan says:

      Going east there is stop signs on the left and right but going west there is only one yield sign, no stop signs.

      • john welch says:

        Hello George – Please double check your direction – If he was headed west (away for Misano) then there are stop signs on Via Ca’ Raffaelli.

        • George Krpan says:

          Do the satellite and/or map view. Left is west, right is east. Heading west on Via Ca’ Raffaelli crossing Via Tavoleto there is only a yield sign. Heading east on Via Tavoleto crossing Via Tavoleto there are the two stop signs as you described. It is odd that there aren’t stop signs on both sides but that’s the way it is.

        • George Krpan says:

          Sorry, I looked again, you are right, he ran the stop signs.

          • Scott says:

            Great. Now that that’s settled, can we stop speculating and let the police do their investigation? None of us were at the scene, and I’m pretty sure none of us has access to any of the evidence. So maybe we can use this thread to simply pay our respects, as it was intended.

  9. ROXX says:

    Just Awful….

  10. Norm G. says:

    hopefully viewing these galleries will be therapeutic for some, i know it was for me. find “little shaver” Nicky, Tommy and RL, Russell, Freddie, Filice, Chris Carr, etc.

    Earl’s Racing Team…? no BIG EARL’S DYNASTY, epic…

    https://nickyhayden.com/category/photo-archives

  11. Jimmy says:

    seemed like a great person judging by all his interviews I’ve heard – sad. rip Nicky

  12. Dino says:

    A day later, and most of my words are still of the four letter variety… I was so hoping for a full recovery. Others have said it better than I can. The condolences to the Haydens, the loss of a great guy in racing, and in life. What a nice photo of him at the top also.

    Rest in Peace, Nicky.

  13. Luis Gallur says:

    The greatest stars shine brighter . Shine bright he did and left too soon . Loved that smile framing that Kentucky accent . RIP champion .

  14. Daniel APONTE says:

    Thank yoi for all of your great memories. You will be missed! My heart goes out to your family. Nicky you will always be a part of our lives! Anyone who road a motorcycle angone who experexperinced a race. My experince was moto gp laguna saca! Seeing you ride that track!

  15. Jeremy in TX says:

    So tragic
    . You will be missed
    .

  16. George Krpan says:

    I checked Google street view. Going west, it is a yield sign not a stop sign. Google “Via Ca’ Raffaelli and Via Tavoleto in Misano Adriatico”. I would imagine the speed limit is rather low, otherwise it would have been a stop sign. The injuries Hayden recieved suggests higher speed.

    • Provologna says:

      Sudden deceleration of the human brain against the skull, from speed as low as 3mph, can be fatal.

      • George Krpan says:

        “The speed of the driver is not yet known but the impact of Hayden slamming into the windshield was strong enough to completely shatter it and dent down the roof of the car. Hayden’s bicycle was found in the nearby ditch with its frame snapped in half.”

        From Hayden’s Wikipedia page.

  17. Asphanaut says:

    I started paying attention to racing about the same time Nicky started in MotoGP. Will miss him.

    • JSH says:

      As did I. I started riding just before he started racing and followed his career from start to finish. More recently followed him from MotoGP to WSBK and now I wonder who is left to watch. No Americans in WSBK or any level of MotoGP.

  18. Ken says:

    Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.

  19. Provologna says:

    Thank you Nicky for sharing your too brief life with us. RIP, and God speed.

  20. Tommy See says:

    So sad today ! The motorcycle community loved Nicky Hayden. We all hurt for the Hayden family and his beautiful fiancé.

  21. dt 175 says:

    we saw him at brainerd int’l raceway…

  22. Tim C says:

    Rats. It wasn’t sounding real good, but you always feel like modern medicine will work it out.

  23. Allison says:

    What a journey, as a fan of racing and life long motorcyclist. Being around 15 years older than Nicky, I remember seeing him for the first time at Pocono International Raceway. His father Earl placed a milk crate beside the bike on the starting grid, because he couldnt touch the ground while sitting stationary on the bike. I thought wow, look at this kid go around this Nascar oval and through the infield schooling guys twice his age. You just knew you were watching someone special. Since then, I’ve spent my entire adult life watching him race, rooting for him and his brothers. But over the years, and especially at the height of his Moto GP career, we saw how he handled himself, on camera, how he spoke to the press, dealt with fans and his fellow competitiors. Even after the famous incident with Dani… always a class act, never lashing out, or making excuses, just going about his business. I will miss him, I never met him, nor did I know him, but to me he was and always will be one of the great American motorcyclist. Ride on Nicky!

  24. Gabriel says:

    I am so glad I got the chance to see him race at COTA in his last season in MotoGP, but this breaks my Kentucky-born heart to know that he is gone. More than anything, I hope his family can find solace in the well wishes of his fans and admirers, and know that the good will Nicky spread has made the world a better, brighter place.
    RIP Nicky.

  25. Doc says:

    Losing a son and brother is a heavy burden for the heart to bear. With deep sadness my prayers go to Nickys parents and siblings.

  26. dave911 says:

    God Speed. You will be missed. Don’t know what else to say, but I too feel “punched in the gut”. R.I.P.

  27. cinderbob says:

    RIP Nicky.

  28. Mark says:

    RIP Nicky #69 –While I never had the opportunity to meet you it was a great privledge to watch you tear up the track when the Superbikes came to town.. Such a sad day..

  29. MGNorge says:

    RIP Nicky.

  30. Tunde says:

    RIP Nicky.
    Was really hoping he would pull through. Completely lost for words.
    My condolences to the Hayden family.

  31. daveee says:

    NO! Nicky was one of my favorite SuperBike and Moto GP racers ever. I was once a proud owner a Nicky Hayden edition RC-51. I never met him or even had the chance to see in race in person, but this feels personal. It feels like I lost a friend.

    RIP #69

  32. My2cents says:

    Birth and death are like book ends, the collection of stories between those two points are yours to write. Few have the luck to be able to leave others so much to be grateful for. Peaceful sleep.

  33. Bernard A. says:

    I did not know the man but I felt the man and his passion. Stay strong Hayden family. like the song goes, only the good die young. God bless.

  34. Dave says:

    Sad to hear he’s gone. I echo the others, who could’ve better represented Americans in European motorcycle racing, then a country boy from Kentucky with his feet on the ground and a smile on his face. So sorry for the Hayden’s loss. The kid was a shining star.

  35. DucDynasty says:

    One of the nicest racers in the biz. God Speed, Nicky!

  36. wjf says:

    We are all motorcyclists here, we’ve all followed racing for as long as we can remember. Death of anyone, including racers is terrible. However, this, this seems worse, damning even, disrespectful, unworthy….etc. This is not how anyone should go out, especially #69. The cursor is blinking a lot while I sit here dumbfounded on what to say. So much talent left on the table. I hope in the after life, there is racing.

  37. Trpldog says:

    I’m gutted. Nicky was such a great representative of motorsports and even America itself in how he carried himself. We’ve had such poor representation before. He was a breath of fresh air for sure.

  38. Scott says:

    I can’t even believe this has happened.

    I really felt like Nicky was going to retire at the end of this season… Marry Jackie, have some kids… Maybe go win a Mile, start a race team, unlimited possibilities. It’s just not fair…

    #69 and #58… Race on, Champions.

  39. Gary says:

    There are many measures of greatness. Fame. Fortune. Wins. Championships.

    But for me, there is one measure that towers above all else. Humility.

    Few people become world champs in their fields. Fewer still, having done so, retain their grounding and remember from where they came.

    By all accounts, racing success did not go to Nicky Hayden’s head. He was always the same personable, generous, kind person he was in the beginning. To me, that speaks more of his character than the speed and skill he brought to his sport.

    His passing as a racer is tragic. But his departure from this Earth as a person of good will and good character … that’s a much greater loss.

  40. Ricky Crue says:

    I can’t even put into words how sad this makes me feel for his family, and the motorcycling community in general. I really enjoyed watching him throughout his career, and was always proud of how he represented his country, and showed that a good ol’ boy from Kentucky could be a World Champion.

  41. viktor92 says:

    What a stupid death for a racer like him. All cyclist should wear a full helmet, the normal one it’s a joke.

  42. wes says:

    oh man i feel sick to my stomach. Not for me, for the Haydens and Jackie. Too many years left. Nicky was the best and definitely burned twice as bright.

  43. Rob says:

    RIP #69. We love you.

  44. J Wilson says:

    What a heartbreaking irony that a man who made his living riding at 200mph on the fastest motorcycles on the planet (or throwing it sideways in those dirt bull-rings) would get killed on a bicycle.

    If Honda ever had a better example of ‘The Power of Dreams’, they’d look no further than the son of a used car dealer in small-town Kentucky who rose to become a World Champion.

    My deepest condolences to his family and all who raced and respected him. We shall miss him so much.

  45. Tom says:

    I’m crushed.

    Rest in Peace *69

  46. mickey says:

    that just sucks big time.

    RIP Nicky

    Condolences to his loved ones

  47. Ricardo says:

    Very sad news. Nicky is a great champion here and in the next life. RIP.

  48. blitz11 says:

    Horrible. May he rest in peace.

  49. Norm G. says:

    gutted…

    God-Speed Nick Patrick i will always remember DAYTONA.

  50. brinskee says:

    What a sad, sad day for motorcycle racing fans everywhere. Losing a fellow motorcyclist is always a personal tragedy and Nicky was one of the kindest World Champions you could ever hope to meet. Humble, friendly, tough, scrappy – he was such an amazing ambassador to the sport. I’ve been a fan since he ran that RC51 back at Sears point when my buddy Dave and I were lucky enough to watch him give Matt Mladin a rough time in 2000. Fast forward to when my buddy Tristan and I met him a few times over the years in MotoGP – the same nice Kentucky Kid, no attitude, no ego. The paddock will miss you Nicky, Rest In Peace #69. 👊 ✊ 🇺🇸