Fact Check

Nicky Hayden Death Hoax

A tasteless fake news story included the claim that World Superbike star Nicky Hayden passed away.

Published May 19, 2017

Updated May 22, 2017
 (Shutterstock/Corinna Huter)
Image courtesy of Shutterstock/Corinna Huter
World Superbike star Nicky Hayden passed away on 19 May 2017.

UPDATE: Former MotoGP champion Nicky Hayden passed away on 22 May 2017. A genuine news report about his death can be read here. The following report concerns a death hoax that circulated shortly after Hayden was hospitalized but well before he actually passed way.

On 19 May 2017, the web site Reports-TV.com published a tasteless fake news article that included the claim that motorcycle race champion Nicky Hayden had passed away after a cycling incident in Italy:

Former MotoGP [a motorcycle race] champion Nicky Hayden who was in an "extremely critical" condition has died, family announces in a statement.

According to the statement the family was by his side after suffering "serious cerebral damage" in a cycling accident on Wednesday until his death this morning.

Nicky Hayden did in fact suffer serious injuries while cycling in Italy. However, his family did not release a statement on 19 May 2017 informing the public that the motorcycle racer had passed away. In fact, Earl Hayden, Nicky's father, told Roadracing World that rumor was not true and this article was fake news:

I spoke to Earl this morning, and adding to the family's pain has been a cascade of FAKE NEWS posted all over the internet, including by alleged professional news organizations that should know better.

Earl told me the following:

The family HAS NOT issued a statement that Nicky is dead.

Nicky IS NOT dead, although he is on life support.

Nicky was riding his bicycle alone, NOT in a group of 14 riders.

Doctors DID NOT perform surgery on Nicky.

Nicky WAS NEVER in an induced coma.

The Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team, of which Hayden is a member, released a statement on 18 May 2017 reporting that Hayden had been involved in a serious accident while cycling near Rimini, Italy.

Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team rider Nicky Hayden was involved in an incident while cycling near Rimini, Italy yesterday afternoon (Wednesday, 17th May)

Following the incident, Nicky was treated on site by medical staff and then taken by ambulance to a hospital near Rimini for immediate treatment. Once Nicky’s condition was stabilised, he was transferred to Maurizio Bufalini Hospital in Cesena and remains in the hospital’s intensive care unit.

The team issued another statement the following day reporting that Hayden's condition had not changed:

The following statement regarding Nicky Hayden’s current condition has been released today, 19 May 2017, at 19:45 local time (GMT +2), by the Maurizio Bufalini Hospital in Cesena (Italy).

“The clinical picture of Nicky Hayden remains unchanged. His condition is still extremely critical.

He is still in the intensive care unit of Cesena’s Maurizio Bufalini Hospital and the prognosis stays reserved.”


Ulrich, John   "Nicky Hayden: Earl Hayden Decries Fake News."     Road Racing World.   19 May 2017.

Red Bull Honda.   "Latest Hospital Statement on Nicky Hayden’s Condition."     19 May 2017.


22 May 2017, 10:54 A.M.: Updated to reflect that Hayden has died.

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.

Article Tags