French Formula 1 racing driver Jules Bianchi died on Saturday from the serious head injuries he sustained in a brutal crash at the Japanese Grand Prix nine months ago. He was 25.
Bianchi had been in a coma since his Marussia car collided with a recovery vehicle in Suzuka last year. He died in a hospital near the southern French city of Nice, surrounded by his family, his team said.
Officials at Manor, formerly known as Marussia, said in a statement on the team's Facebook page that the news of Bianchi's death was received with "enormous sadness."
"Words cannot describe the enormous sadness within our team this morning, as we come to terms with losing Jules," team principal John Booth said. "He has left an indelible mark on all our lives, and will forever be part of everything we have achieved, and everything we will strive for going forward."
News of Bianchi's death reverberated throughout the racing world, with leading figures from within the sport sending messages of condolences.
Bianchi, who was part of Ferrari's young drivers academy, made his Formula 1 debut with the Marussia team, an Anglo-Russia joint venture, in 2013. He was described by his peers as one of the most talented drivers in the circuit, an extremely nice man, and a potential future champion.
The fatal accident on a wet Sunday last October in Suzuka happened when his car slid off the track and crashed into a crane which was rescuing a car that had collided at the same spot in the previous lap.
After so many months in hospital, Bianchi's death from his injuries is the first such incident since Formula 1 great Ayrton Senna died from head injuries sustained at Italy's Imola circuit in 1994.
In a statement Bianchi's family said "Jules fought right to the very end, as he always did, but today his battle came to an end."