Motorsports mourning the death of Ken Block, pioneering star of action sports and rally

Ken Block reaction
Ken Block reaction

Ken Block made his fame as an action sports star and viral video sensation, but the reaction to his shocking death Monday showed how wide his impact was across motorsports.

Hoonigan Industries confirmed in an Instagram post and on its website that he was killed in a snowmobile accident: “He was a visionary, a pioneer and an icon. And most importantly, a father and husband.”

According to reports from local and national media outlets, Block, 55, died in a remote part of Wasatch County, Utah. Wasatch County Sheriff’s Office officials told reporters that Block, a resident of Park City, Utah, was pronounced dead at the scene after a snowmobile ridden by Block turned over and landed on top of him.

Hoonigan Industries is an automotive apparel and lifestyle brand co-founded by Block as “an entire subculture fueled on the shared passion of going fast and breaking things” — an apt description for what made him such an appealing and popular touchstone in the racing world.

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Riders and drivers mourned the loss of Block, who was a winning rally driver in series such as Rally America and Global Rallycross but became renowned through his immensely successful “Gymkhana” series. Since its inception nearly 15 years ago, there have been more than a half-billion total views of the 10-part video series that featured Block performing inconceivable stunts with a wide range of vehicles.

Former Formula One champion Jenson Button said Block was “such a talent that did so much for our sport. He was a true visionary with his own unique style & infectious smile.”

MotoGP winner Alex Rins called Block “an idol for a whole generation.” NASCAR Xfinity champion and Cup winner Ricky Stenhouse Jr. tweeted, “Ken Block, such a legend! Showed the world how to make awesome content, and just a wheelman!!”

NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Ryan Vargas said that watching Block’s videos while growing up “shaped my personality and interest in cars.”

Stewart-Haas Racing driver Chase Briscoe recalled doing a video shoot with Block, who was a longtime Ford driver. Briscoe said he “was absolutely blown away at how nice he was and the car control” that Block had.

News of Block’s death began to spread Monday night just as the NFL game between Buffalo and Cincinnati was suspended after Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed after making a first-quarter tackle. After being administered CPR, Hamlin was transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital, and the NFL said he was in critical condition.

In paying respects to Block, many motorsports figures also referenced their concern for Damar Hamlin.

There likely will be many more Ken Block tributes and reaction Tuesday at the 2023 Dakar Rally, which will begins its third stage in Saudi Arabia.

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Motorsports mourning the death of Ken Block, pioneering star of action sports and rally originally appeared on NBCSports.com