Robbie Knievel died on Friday at his home in Reno, Nevada. He was a daredevil performer who, like his father Evel Knievel, flew through the air on motorcycles and did a number of amazing stunts while in the air. He was 60.
Kelly Knievel, his older brother, said he died of pancreatic cancer.
Mr. Knievel, also known as “Captain Robbie Knievel,” followed his father into the high-flying, bone-shattering world of motorcycle stunt shows. In his 30-year career, he landed more than 350 jumps, risking his life every time.
In one of his most famous jumps, Mr. Knievel jumped 150 feet over the fountains at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas while wearing a white leather suit with stars on it. It was a kind of tribute to Evel Knievel, who had jumped over the same fountains in 1967 and then crashed so hard that people were scared.
“When I jumped and told him, ‘That was for you, Dad,’ he ran up to me with tears in his eyes and gave me a big hug,” the son remembered years later. “I had never seen him so emotional.”
In 1998, at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas, Mr. Knievel jumped more than 200 feet over 30 limousines. The next year, he jumped without a net between the two Jockey Club hotel towers in Las Vegas as pink and green fireworks went off all around him.
A Great Daredevil has Died Robbie Knievel May 7, 1962 – January 13, 2023. pic.twitter.com/tOlJ67AtFL
— Evel Knievel (@evelknievel) January 13, 2023
The Las Vegas Sun said that “This is crazy ’cause life is crazy,” Mr. Knievel told reporters afterward, a thumb hanging from his leather “RK” belt buckle
In 1999, Mr. Knievel flew over part of the Grand Canyon. When he landed, he broke a few ribs. This was 25 years after his father tried to fly over the Snake River Canyon in Idaho on a steam-powered rocket, but his parachute broke and he fell into the rocky chasm below.
Mr. Knievel also jumped over an oncoming steam train just seconds before it hit his takeoff ramp, and he flew over a row of military planes on the deck of the U.S.S. Intrepid in New York.
Robbie Knievel’s jumps, like his father’s, resulted in many cracked bones, including several vertebrae. In a 2019 essay on fatherly.com about his relationship with his father, he said, “I’m lucky I can still walk.” On May 7, 1962, Robert Edward Knievel was born in Butte, Montana. He was the second-oldest of Linda Bork and Evel Knievel’s four children. In the 1960s and 1970s, Evel Knievel became famous worldwide for his motorcycle stunts.
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How Did Evel Knievel Die?
Evel Knievel died in 2007 at the age of 69. He had been sick for years, with diabetes and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a lung disease that can’t be cured. Robbie Knievel started riding motorcycles when he was old enough to hold on to the handlebars, according to his brother. He was inspired by the daring things his father did.
His first motorcycle was a Honda mini. His father taught him to ride it by putting him in a ditch, tying a rope around him, and pulling him off the seat if he accidentally turned the throttle too far.
Soon, he was jumping over 10-speed bicycles, and his father wrote on fatherly.com that he put a sign outside the family’s house that said, “See Evel Knievel Junior jump for 25 cents.” At age 8, he did his first show with his father at Madison Square Garden. The two then went on tour together all over the U.S. and Australia. Robbie Knievel would put on “wheelie shows” before his father’s jumps, which he wrote about in the essay. He would ride around on his back tire.
Mr. Knievel had other jobs, like laying tiles, working in a sawmill, and working in a bike shop, but he always went back to jumping motorcycles.
He once said, “I do it for the thrill and the quick money.” He also said, “I think I was born to do it.”
As a teen, he fought with his father, and when he was 19, he moved out to start his own career. But Evel Knievel was still an important part of his life.
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