Twenty five year-old French Formula One driver Jules Bianchi has succumbed to the injuries he sustained in an accident at the Japanese Grand Prix in October, 2014, his family confirmed on Saturday, 18 July. Bianchi had been in a state of induced coma since the crash, nine months ago, and was undergoing treatment at a hospital in Nice. His condition had recently worsened, with his father acknowledging in an interview to French radio earlier this month that chances of a recovery weren't too high.
"The pain we feel is immense and indescribable."
In the early hours of 18 July, the family released a statement through social media, confirming the news of Bianchi's demise. "Jules fought right to the very end, as he always did, but today his battle came to an end. The pain we feel is immense and indescribable," it read. The family further thanked all the medical staff involved in Bianchi's treatment over the last nine months, as well as his colleagues, friends and fans. "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," the statement concluded.
The fatal crash in Suzuka
Bianchi's accident took place towards the end of the Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka in October, 2014. In wet conditions, Bianchi's Marussia rammed into a crane that was tending to Adrian Sutil's Sauber, which had crashed at the spot a few moments back. The crash resulted in Bianchi suffering serious head injuries, putting him in a state of coma for the rest of his life. He was immediately moved to a local hospital, before being relocated to Nice in his native France.
Jules Bianchi factfile
Jules Bianchi started his professional motorsport career with the ART Grand Prix team in the 2007 Formula 3 season. Four years later, he joined Ferrari as its test and reserve driver. He took the same position at Vijay Mallya-owned Force India in 2012, before finally getting his big break in F1 with the Marussia team (now known as Manor) in 2013. In the Monaco Grand Prix in 2014, he scored his and his team's first ever points in the competition, when he finished ninth in the race.