TRAGIC DEATH IN F1: Jules Bianchi was in a coma since his horror crash at the 2014 Japanese GP. He dies nine months later on Saturday July 18 2015. Image: AFP / Alexander Klein
LONDON, England - F1 driver Jules Bianchi died early on Saturday (July 18 2015) from head injuries sustained in a crash at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix.
Bianchi had been in a coma since the crash at Suzuka in October 2014. He died in a hospital in Nice, not far from his parents' home in the south of France.
He was 25.
The family of Bianchi released the following statement announcing his death from injuries sustained in a crash at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix:
"It is with deep sadness that the parents of Jules Bianchi, Philippe and Christine, his brother Tom and sister Melanie, 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 5 October 2014 at Suzuka Circuit during the Japanese Grand Prix.
"Jules fought right to the very end, as he always did, but today his battle came to an end. 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."
Bianchi emerged from the Ferrari academy with a glowing reputation and was a test driver for the Maranello glamour team before joining Ferrari-powered Marussia.
Popular in the paddock, playing football with the other drivers and part of the Ferrari 'family', Bianchi's dreams were far from wild.
"Of course I feel ready. I have been working on that since I joined the academy in 2009," Bianchi had told reporters before the Japanese Grand Prix, when speculation was still swirling about the Ferrari line-up for 2015.
He said: "Now I have done nearly two seasons in F1. I have good experience and feel ready for that. It looks like the logical step for me if something happens."
He had joined Marussia through a stroke of fate, with the team suddenly in need of a driver after terminating the contract of Brazilian Luiz Razia three weeks before the start of the 2013 season due to financial reasons.
Bianchi had hoped for a race seat at Force India, where he had spent 2012 as reserve, but had missed out to Germany's Adrian Sutil a week earlier.
Nicolas Todt, the manager who had guided Bianchi's career since the driver was 15 years old and who is also the son of FIA president and former Ferrari team boss Jean, seized the opportunity.
Follow the events leading up to his tragic death: