It’s Been 2 Years Since the World Lost Racing Champ Nicky ‘Kentucky Kid’ Hayden
On May 22, 2017 the man known to the world as the "Kentucky Kid," passed away after a bicycling accident in Italy that had left him on life support. Nicky Hayden was a well known moto-racer and native to Owensboro, Ky.
Hayden had been in Italy the Wednesday before his passing where he was training on his bicycle. He was struck by a car and suffered head and chest trauma as well as severe cerebral damage - what was described as "multiple traumatic injuries," according to Foxsports.com. In a statement to Road Racing World, Hayden's father, Earl, stated that his son was never in a medical coma but had been placed on life support.
After the accident, Hayden was treated at Maurizio Bufalini Hospital in Cesena, Italy, with his mother and brother by his side. Though few details of Hayden's condition were released since the accident, ESPN reported that the hospital released this statement:
"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 started riding at age three and racing at only five-years-old. His family would have to hold his bike up at the starting line as he couldn't touch the ground. He continued racing throughout high school and in 2002, won the Daytona 200 becoming the youngest AMA Superbike champion ever, which landed him a spot at the MotoGP world championship. He went on to win the MotoGP title in 2006. In 2016, after 13 years of racing in MotoGP, Hayden switched to racing in the World Superbike championship, finishing fifth overall. He had held 13th position for 2017 as a member of the Red Bull Honda racing team.
People worldwide were heartbroken over the loss of #69, the Kentucky Kid. In June 2018, Hayden's hometown of Owensboro unveiled a statue in his honor and on April 2019, his race number #69 was retired from MotoGP.