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

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — Robbie Knievel, an American stunt performer who set records with daredevil motorcycle jumps following the tire tracks of his thrill-seeking father, has died in Nevada, his brother said. He was 60 years old.

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

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

As a child, Robbie Knievel began riding a bicycle 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 Caesars Palace fountains in Las Vegas in 1967, Robbie completed the jump in 1989 using a purpose-built Honda.

Robbie Knievel also made headlines on the Las Vegas Strip about a row of limousines 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 USA is airborne over the Grand Canyon, AZ on May 20, 1999 during a successful world record jump of 228 feet (about 68 meters).  Knievel crashed after his landing and suffered unknown injuries, but spoke to the crowd before being airlifted to University Medical Center in Las Vegas, NV.  AFP PHOTO John Gurzinski
Robbie Knievel leaps over the Grand Canyon during a successful world record jump of 228 feet, in Arizona, on May 20, 1999.John Gurzinski/AFP via Getty Images file

After crash-landing to complete a motorcycle jump over a 220-foot chasm on an Indian reservation outside Grand Canyon National Park in 1999, Robbie Knievel noted that his father always wanted to jump the spectacular natural landmark in Arizona, but He never did. Robbie Knievel broke his leg in his accident.

Instead, Evel Knievel attempted to fly over a mile-wide chasm in Idaho’s Snake River Canyon in September 1974. His rocket-powered motorcycle crashed into the canyon while his escape parachute was deploying.

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

Robbie Knievel, who billed 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 it crashed into 22 of 25 pickup trucks lined up in a 180-foot stretch in Cerritos, California.

“The injuries took a toll on him,” Kelly Knievel said Friday.

Kelly Knievel lives in Las Vegas. She said her brother died with three daughters by her 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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