It always amazes me when certain people live past a certain age in spite of the lives they lived. Like most of the hair band guys from the 80s that lived off diets of drugs and alcohol yet are still alive today. Or the daredevils that like living on the edge and keep escaping death. Then there is THE daredevil.
Evel Knievel had to be the world's most famous thrill-seeker. He was known just as much for his dramatic accidents on his motorcycles as he was for the actual jumps he completed. Despite his near-death experiences while completing his stunts, he lived to ripe old age of 69. He had been in failing health for years due to diabetes and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. He ultimately passed away Friday.
Here I am just talking the other day about how I have only broken one bone in my entire body my entire life. Knievel was the stark opposite. Throughout his career, he had broken practically every bone in his body. Some multiple times. In fact, at the infamous jump over the fountains at Caesar's Palace in 1967, he broke nearly a dozen bones and was in a coma for 29 days.
One of the very first toys I remember getting as a shorty was an Evel Knievel stunt set complete with "action figure". You would put the bike in its holder, wind it up and then it was supposed to propel forward to a ramp and complete a jump. Naturally, it seldom worked. It would usually crash before it even reached the ramp or would never launch from the ramp properly. But when you caught that lightning in the bottle and it actually made the jump, it was pretty cool.
Knievel had just been in news earlier due to a law suit he settled with Kanye West over West's likeness of the Knievel image in his "Touch the Sky" video. Although that may be how today's generation will remember him, from my folks, he was the original daredevil.
Rest in peace, Evel.