Robbie Knievel, American stunt performer and son of renowned daredevil Evel Knievel, has died in Nevada, his brother Kelly said. He was 60. Knievel died early Friday at a hospice in Reno after fighting pancreatic cancer, Kelly said.
“Daredevils don’t live easy lives. He was a great daredevil. People don’t really understand how scary it is what my brother did,” he added.
The stuntman, also known as “Kaptain Robbie Knievel” followed in his father’s footsteps from the time he was young, performing at Madison Square Garden at 8 years old. He performed more than 350 jumps in his stuntman career and set 20 records for his jumps, including successfully jumping the fountains at Caesars Palace in 1989.
Who was Evel Knievel?
Evel Knievel, real name Robert Craig Knievel, was a stunt performer and entertainer, who captivated audiences with his death-defying stunts. During his career, Knievel attempted more than 75 ramp-to-ramp motorcycle jumps. He was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999.
He was born on October 17, 1938, in Butte, Montana to Robert E and Ann Marie Keough Knievel. As a teenager, he was often arrested for stealing motorcycles and hubcaps. He stole a Harley Davidson at the age of 13.
After dropping out of high school, Knievel took various odd jobs including working in the copper mines of Butte. He performed his first motorcycle stunt in his late 20s to boost business for a motorcycle shop he co-owned. As a part of the stunt, he jumped over rows of parked cars, a caged cougar, and a box of rattlesnakes. After performing with a group called Evel Knievel’s Motorcycle Daredevils from 1965 to 1968, he decided to pursue a solo career. He wore his trademark red, white and blue suit with a cape whenever he performed stunts.
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Knievel suffered 35 broken bones as a result of his motorcycle daredevil stunts, which is a Guinness-certified world record. His well-publicized stunts included jumping over the fountains at Caesars Palace Hotel in Las Vegas in 1968, soaring over some 50 cars at the Los Angeles Coliseum in 1973, a failed attempt to jump over the Snake River Canyon in Idaho using a rocket-powered motorcycle called the Sky-Cycle in 1974, jumping over 13 buses at Wembley Stadium in London in 1975, and hoping over a shark-filled tank in Chicago (1976).
Knievel was married twice. He and his wife Linda were married for 38 years. The couple has four children two boys, Kelly and Robbie, and two girls, Tracey and Alicia.
Knievel died on November 30, 2007, in Florida after suffering from diabetes and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis for several years. He was 69.