MOTOGP rider Marco Simoncelli has died of injuries sustained in a crash that resulted in the cancellation of the Malaysian MotoGP.
The smash occurred just four minutes after the race began when the Honda rider's bike veered across the track and into the path of riders Colin Edwards and Valentino Rossi.
Simoncelli, 24, had his helmet knocked off in the collision, which happened on turn 11.
"Despite their efforts, Marco sadly succumbed to his injuries at 4:56pm local time," MotoGP said in a statement on its website.
"Everybody involved in MotoGP extends its deepest condolences to Marco's family, friends and team at this tragic loss."
The race at a steamy Sepang circuit was immediately red-flagged and organisers later announced it had been cancelled.
Ironically it was the circuit where Simoncelli experienced his finest hour - a third-placed finish to clinch the 250cc title on October 19, 2008.