Robbie Knievel, daring son of Evel Knievel, dies aged 60
LAS VEGAS — Robbie Knievel, an American stunt performer who set records for daredevil motorcycle jumps that followed his adventurous father’s tire tracks — including dying in 1989 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and a decade later in a chasm in the Grand Canyon in Nevada, said his brother. He was 60.
Robbie Knievel died early Friday of pancreatic cancer at a hospice in Reno, Kelly Knievel said.
“Daredevils don’t have an easy life,” Kelly Knievel told The Associated Press. “He was a big go-getter. People don’t really understand how scary it is what my brother did.”
As a boy, Robbie Knievel began riding his bicycle to emulate his famous father, Evel Knievel, who died in Clearwater, Florida in 2007.
But where Evel Knievel nearly died from injuries in a 1967 fall while riding his Harley-Davidson while jumping over the fountains at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Robbie completed the jump in 1989 on a specially designed Honda.
Robbie Knievel also made headline-grabbing jumps off the Las Vegas Strip over a series of sedans at the Tropicana Hotel in 1998; between two buildings at the Jockey Club in 1999; and a New Year’s Eve jump amid fireworks in front of a volcano attraction at The Mirage on December 31, 2008.
Robbie Knievel famously jumped over the fountains at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas in 1989, completing the stunt that nearly killed his father, Evel Knievel, in 1967. Zak Hussein/PA Images via Getty Images
After crash-landing to complete a motorcycle jump over a 200-foot (61-meter) chasm on an Indian reservation outside of Grand Canyon National Park in 1999, Robbie Knievel noted that his father always wanted to jump over the spectacular Arizona natural landmark, but never did. Robbie Knievel broke his leg in his fall.
Evel Knievel instead attempted to soar over a mile-wide gorge of the Snake River Canyon in Idaho in September 1974. His rocket-powered bike crashed into the gorge while his escape parachute was being deployed.
Robbie Knievel’s brother recalled other stunts, including a 2004 jump over a row of military aircraft on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid, a museum in New York.
Robbie Knievel, who publicized himself as Captain Robbie Knievel, set several stunt records but also failed several attempts. In 1992, at the age of 29, he was injured when he crashed into the 22nd of 25 pickup trucks lined up over a 55-yard span in Cerritos, California.
“Injuries took quite a toll on him,” said Kelly Knievel 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 his brother will be buried with other family members in Butte, Montana.