Nine months after crashing into a recovery vehicle at the Japanese GP, Jules Bianchi has passed away, his family has confirmed in a statement.
"It is with deep sadness that the parents of Jules Bianchi, Philippe and Christine, his brother Tom and sister Mélanie, wish to make it known that Jules passed away last night at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire (CHU) in Nice, (France) where he was admitted following the accident of 5th October 2014 at Suzuka Circuit during the Japanese Formula 1 Grand Prix.
“Jules fought right to the very end, as he always did, but today his battle came to an end,” said the Bianchi family. “The pain we feel is immense and indescribable. We wish to thank the medical staff at Nice’s CHU who looked after him with love and dedication. We also thank the staff of the General Medical Center in the Mie Prefecture (Japan) who looked after Jules immediately after the accident, as well as all the other doctors who have been involved with his care over the past months.
“Furthermore, we thank Jules’ colleagues, friends, fans and everyone who has demonstrated their affection for him over these past months, which gave us great strength and helped us deal with such difficult times. Listening to and reading the many messages made us realise just how much Jules had touched the hearts and minds of so many people all over the world.
“We would like to ask that our privacy is respected during this difficult time, while we try to come to terms with the loss of Jules.”
On October 5 last year, Bianchi spun off track in wet conditions during the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, striking a tractor crane that was retrieving the stricken Sauber of Adrian Sutil. The impact was immense, shaving off the roll hoop and destroying the entire rear of the car.
Bianchi's head made contact with the back of the machine, causing him to suffer a diffuse axonal injury - a very serious type of traumatic brain injury. Bianchi has since been in a comatose state, hospitalised since the day of his accident and until the day of his passing.