Nicky Hayden dead at 35 after ex-MotoGP champ involved in fatal bike crash in Italy last week

FORMER Superbike champ Nicky Hayden has died five days after being knocked off his bike in a horrific cycling crash.

The American ex-MotoGP winner lost his battle today after being hit by a car during a training exercise in Italy last week.

Hayden, 35, was placed in on life support after the collision along the Rimini coast on Wednesday.

Hospital officials confirmed on Monday that the popular motorbike star, from Owensboro in Kentucky, died from his severe head and chest injuries.

Hayden, who was known as the "Kentucky Kid", had been in Italy following a race at nearby Imola.

The MotoGP champ's mum, Rose, and brother Tommy raced to be at Hayden's hospital bedside at Bufalini Hospital in Cesena after the crash.

But medics delivered the sad news in a statement today, saying: “The medical team has verified the death of the patient Nicholas Patrick Hayden.

“He had been undergoing care in the intensive care unit following a very serious polytrauma which occurred the same day.”

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Images from the scene of the crash show how a black Peugeot 206 convertible was left with a badly damaged windscreen.

Hayden’s bike appeared to have been thrown off the road into a grass verge, snapping the frame.

Tributes flooded in from the world of motorsport, including ex-Ferrari F1 driver Felipe Massa, who tweeted: "R.I.P @NickyHayden . My thoughts are with his family."

Fellow bike racer Alex Lowes wrote: "Honoured to have raced together! So much talent on a bike the nicest guy off! Will be hugely missed by everyone! RIP #legendsneverdie."

A post shared by Aleix 41 (@aleixespargaro)

While Aleix Espargaro wrote on Instagram: "Can't believe… The most easy and good guy i ever meet on a paddock in my life! Love u Nicky! RIP."

And British superbike champ Shane Bryne said: "Absolutely gutted a true legend has passed, a nicer guy in the paddock you couldn't ask to meet, keep it pinned up there #69 #RIPKentuckyKid."

Nicknamed the "Kentucky Kid", Hayden had joined MotoGP in 2003 when he was just 21 years old, teaming up with Rossi before beating him three years later.

He won the  MotoGP title in 2006 pipping Valentino Rossi.

Hayden remained in MotoGP full-time until 2015 but could not to make it back to the top of the podium again.

He focused on World Superbikes for the past two years and was 13th in this season’s standings until his untimely death.

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