Robbie Knievel, daredevil stuntman and son of Evel Knievel, dies at 60

LAS VEGAS — Robbie Knievel, an American stuntman who set records with daredevil motorcycle jumps while following in his thrill-seeking father’s tire tracks, has died in Nevada, his brother said. He was 60 years old.

Robbie Knievel died Friday morning at a Reno hospice after battling pancreatic cancer, Kelly Knievel said.

“Daredevils don’t live an easy life,” Kelly Knievel told The Associated Press. “It was a big daredevil. People don’t really understand how scary it is what my brother did.

As a child, Robbie Knievel started riding his bike to emulate his famous father, Evel Knievel, who died in 2007 in Clearwater, Florida.

But where Evel Knievel nearly died of injuries when he crashed his Harley-Davidson during a jump over the fountains at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas in 1967, Robbie completed the jump in 1989 using a purpose-built Honda.

Robbie Knievel also did headline-grabbing Las Vegas Strip jumps over a row of limos in 1998 at the Tropicana Hotel; between two buildings at the Jockey Club in 1999; and a New Year’s Eve jump amid fireworks in front of a volcanic attraction at the Mirage on December 31, 2008.

Robbie Knievel of the United States flies over the Grand Canyon, Arizona, May 20, 1999 in a world record jump of 228 feet (about 68 meters).  Knievel crashed after landing and suffered unknown injuries, but spoke to the crowd before being airlifted to University Medical Center in Las Vegas, NV.  Photo AFP John Gurzinski
Robbie Knievel leaps over the Grand Canyon in a world record jump of 228 feet, in Arizona on May 20, 1999.John Gurzinski/AFP via Getty Images File

After crash-landing to perform a motorcycle jump over a 220-foot sinkhole on an Indian reservation outside Grand Canyon National Park in 1999, Robbie Knievel noted that his father had always wanted to jump the site Arizona’s spectacular natural setting, but never did. Robbie Knievel broke his leg in his accident.

Evel Knievel instead attempted to fly over a mile-wide sinkhole in Idaho’s Snake River Canyon in September 1974. His rocket-powered bicycle crashed into the canyon as his reserve parachute deployed.

Robbie Knievel’s brother recalled other stunts, including a 2004 jump over a row of military planes on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid, a museum in New York.

Robbie Knievel, who introduced himself as “Kaptain Robbie Knievel”, set several stunt records but also failed several times. In 1992, at age 29, he was injured when he crashed into the 22nd of 25 pickup trucks lined up at a 180-foot span in Cerritos, California.

“The injuries have hurt him a lot,” Kelly Knievel said on Friday.

Kelly Knievel lives in Las Vegas. He said his brother died with three daughters by his side: Krysten Knievel Hansson of Chicago, Karmen Knievel of Missoula, Montana, and Maria Collins of Waldport, Oregon.

Services were not immediately scheduled, but Kelly Knievel said her brother will be buried with other family members in Butte, Montana.

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