Sunday, December 02, 2007

Godspeed, Evel Knievel

Picture copyright Telegraph Media Group Limited 107.

Rogue stuntman Evel Knievel passed away last week at the age of 69 from multiple health problems.

Robert Craig Knievel began life as a small-time burglar and motorcycle thief in Butte, Montana, which led to his being nicknamed "Evil Knievel" by the police. He changed the spelling and later adopted the moniker as his stage name. Long before extreme sports were invented, Knievel's stunts during the late 60s and 70s propelled him into pop culture icon status, and created a new artform. He survived over 300 jumps and broke 40 bones during his career. An attempt to jump the fountains at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas in 1967 resulted in a 3-month long coma when he lost control of his bike on the way down.

Knievel left his first wife, the mother of his four children, in the early 1980s and married Krystal Kennedy-Knievel in 1999, who was less than half his age. They later divorced, but continued to live together until his death.

His gravesite has actually been waiting since 1974, since he didn't think he would live to see old age. Several tributes were held yesterday in Montana. His final message to his fans was, "chase your dreams and get up if you fall."

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