Long before jackasses, Steve-0s or “extreme” anything, there was Evel Knievel, an international icon of the 70’s who was part daredevil, part showman and part star-spangled badass. He passed at away today at the age of 69 from diabetes and pulmonary fibrosis.
To a generation of fans, he was their Superman, known best for his successes as his failures, but always remembered for his quick tongue and brash fearlessness. Knievel was best known for a failed 1974 attempt to jump Snake River Canyon on a rocket-powered “Skycycle” and an incredible crash at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. Knievel once said, "People wanted to associate with a winner, not a loser. They wanted to associate with someone who kept trying to be a winner."
By the time he retired in 1980, he had broken over forty bones, including a broken pelvis during a jump over 13 buses at Wembley stadium for a reported million-dollar fee. In his lifetime, he claimed to have worked in coal mines, ran Honda dealerships, and sold insurance as well as being a swindler, a card thief, a safe cracker and a holdup man.
His death came just two days after settling a copyright lawsuit with rapper Kanye West. His son, Robbie, continues the Knievel legacy. In 2000 he jumped a moving train and went on to jump a 200 foot chasm in the Grand Canyon.