Jules Bianchi has died at age 25, his family confirmed in a statement early Saturday morning French time, some nine months after his accident in the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix.
Bianchi suffered a diffuse axonal injury when his car veered off course at last year’s Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka. His helmet was lodged underneath a tractor crane when the car slid underneath it.
Bianchi has been hospitalized in a coma since the accident, and while he was moved from Japan to France last November there were little to no signs of progress. As recently as this week, Bianchi’s father Philippe Bianchi called it a “daily torture” seeing the lack of recovery.
The statement released from the family reads as follows:
It is with deep sadness that the parents of Jules Bianchi, Philippe and Christine, his brother Tom and sister Mélanie, wish to make it known that Jules passed away last night at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire (CHU) in Nice, (France) where he was admitted following the accident of 5th October 2014 at Suzuka Circuit during the Japanese Formula 1 Grand Prix.
“Jules fought right to the very end, as he always did, but today his battle came to an end,” said the Bianchi family. “The pain we feel is immense and indescribable. We wish to thank the medical staff at Nice’s CHU who looked after him with love and dedication. We also thank the staff of the General Medical Center in the Mie Prefecture (Japan) who looked after Jules immediately after the accident, as well as all the other doctors who have been involved with his care over the past months.
“Furthermore, we thank Jules’ colleagues, friends, fans and everyone who has demonstrated their affection for him over these past months, which gave us great strength and helped us deal with such difficult times. Listening to and reading the many messages made us realise just how much Jules had touched the hearts and minds of so many people all over the world.
“We would like to ask that our privacy is respected during this difficult time, while we try to come to terms with the loss of Jules.”
Bianchi’s teammate, Max Chilton, and their team, Marussia, now Manor Marussia, have also expressed their thoughts:
MotorSportsTalk extends its condolences, and expresses its thoughts and wishes for the Bianchi family at this time.