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|"Unfortunately Jantz's injuries are too severe to survive," Jantz Grodzicki's father wrote.|
Amateur motocross racer Jantz Grodzicki, 16, was taken off life support Monday at Shands Hospital at the University of Florida, a hospital spokesman confirmed, and died shortly afterward, three days after suffering head injuries and a severed spine in a crash Friday during the 41st Annual Thor Winter Olympics.
"It is with the heaviest of hearts and deepest sorrow that we share with you the loss of our son Christopher 'Jantz' Grodzicki No. 96," his mother, Lisa Grodzicki, said in a statement released Monday. "Jantz passed away peacefully today, Nov. 26, 2012, at 12:56 p.m. He was surrounded by his immediate family and friends. Jantz will be forever remembered as a fierce motocross competitor and for the warmth, kindness and amazing sense of humor he shared with everyone. Jantz is survived by his loving parents Chris and Lisa and 12-year-old sister Jenna Reece."
Grodzicki had been pronounced brain dead upon arrival at the hospital Friday after being airlifted from the track, where he had been competing in the amateur Supercross and Motocross event, also known as the Mini Olympics, or Mini O's, in Alachua, Fla.,Grodzicki reportedly showed signs of awareness and eye movement Saturday morning, according to statements from his family. That news prompted a flurry of support from the motocross community on Facebook and Twitter.
"Our sport is brutal sometimes," wrote motocross and FMX legend Carey Hart, one of many riders using the #JG96 hashtag on Twitter during the weekend in reference to Grodzicki's racing number. "Terrible to be in this position. Thoughts and prayers go out."
A crowd of friends and fans gathered for a candlelight vigil near Grodzicki's home in San Diego. "Unfortunately Jantz's injuries are too severe to survive," his father, Chris Grodzicki, said in a statement late Saturday. "He suffered a severed spinal cord at the base of his skull and it is improbable that he can recover. The body cannot survive with this damage … Godspeed No. 96!"
A friend of the family has produced J.G. 96 commemorative stickers, available at PrayForJantz.bigcartel.com; sales will benefit the family, and a portion of the proceeds will be put toward establishing a ride day event in his honor.
Grodzicki had been competing since he was 7, most recently at events such as the 2012 Loretta Lynn's AMA Amateur National Motocross Championships, where he placed 21st overall in the Schoolboy 1 division, and the 2012 Pala Amateur Championship, where he placed first overall in the 450 B and Schoolboy divisions and second overall in the 250 B division. He was considered to be one of the most promising young riders on the amateur "Mini" circuit.
"I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has supported my friend and who has said all the prayers," his close friend and fellow rider Kade Steele said in a statement Saturday. "It's very sad to say that we won't have Jantz with us any longer but he is still imprinted in our hearts and would want all of us to be happy for him and look back at all his accomplishments, and he will never be forgotten."