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

Robbie Knievel died early Friday at a hospice in Reno after battling pancreatic cancer, his brother said.
Robbie Knievel, son of the iconic stuntman Evel Knievel, pictured at Battersea Power Station, London Tuesday Dec. 15, 2009, where he has announced a major stunt he will perform next year. Robbie, aged 47, will attempt to beat the famous double-decker bus jump his father failed, on its 35th anniversary. He will stage a record attempt to jump 16 double-decker buses on a classic Harley Davidson XR-750, the same model his father used in his failed attempt at Wembley Stadium on May 25, 1975. The stunt will take place on May 22, 2010.(AP Photo/ Zak Hussein/PA) ** UNITED KINGDOM OUT **
Robbie Knievel at Battersea Power Station, London, on Dec. 15, 2009.Zak Hussein / AP file
/ Source: Associated Press

LAS VEGAS — 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.

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

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

As a boy, Robbie Knievel began on his bicycle to emulate his famous father, Evel Knievel, who died in 2007 in Clearwater, Florida.

But where Evel Knievel famously almost died from 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 specially designed Honda.

Robbie Knievel also made headline-grabbing Las Vegas Strip jumps over 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 volcano attraction at The Mirage on Dec. 31, 2008.

Robbie Knievel of the US is airborne above the Grand Canyon, AZ, 20 May, 1999 during a successful 228 feet (some 68 meters) world record jump. Knievel crashed following his landing and sustained unknown injuries but talked to the crowd before being flown by helicopter to the University Medical Center in Las Vegas, NV. AFP PHOTO John Gurzinski
Robbie Knievel jumps above the Grand Canyon during a successful 228 feet world record jump, in Arizona, on May 20, 1999.John Gurzinski / AFP via Getty Images file

After a crash-landing to complete a motorcycle leap over a 220-foot chasm at 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 never did. Robbie Knievel broke his leg in his crash.

Evel Knievel instead attempted to soar over a mile-wide Snake River Canyon chasm in Idaho in September 1974. His rocket-powered cycle crashed into the canyon while his escape parachute deployed.

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

Robbie Knievel, who promoted himself as “Kaptain Robbie Knievel,” set several stunt records, but also failed in several attempts. In 1992, at age 29, he was injured when he crashed into the 22nd of 25 pickup trucks lined up across a 180-foot span in Cerritos, California.

“Injuries took quite a toll on him,” Kelly Knievel said Friday.

Kelly Knievel lives in Las Vegas. He said his brother died with three daughters at his 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 his brother will be buried with other family members in Butte, Montana.