A 28-year-old horse racing jockey died Tuesday from injuries he suffered when he was trampled on during a race a week earlier, according to reports.
Taiki Yanagida died in a New Zealand hospital after he was put on life support following a Cambridge Jockey Club race he competed in on Aug. 3, according to a racing website.
“Our deepest sympathies are with Taiki’s family – his mother Kayano, sisters Chiaki and Ayano, and his grandmother. We share their grief at the loss of such a talented, friendly, and well-liked young man,” New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing CEO Bruce Sharrock said in a statement.
“Taiki was recently able to spend a month back at home with his family following a lengthy period where he could not travel home due to Covid, and we hope they take comfort from the memories created during that time.”
“The tragic loss of one of our own always hits hard and we need to be aware of how others might be feeling and processing this loss,” Sharrock went on to say. “We are also particularly conscious of Taiki’s fellow jockeys and will be ensuring there is support in place for them.”
According to the NZ Herald, Yanagida, in his final race of the day, lost his helmet when he flew off his horse and was then partially rolled on by the animal before another horse galloped over him.
He suffered brain and spinal cord damage and would have likely not been able to walk again even if he lived, the outlet reported.
Yanagida grew up in Japan before moving to Australia at 18 to pursue horse racing and then to New Zealand, the NZ Herald reported.
Months before his death, the NZ Herald cited a report where Yanagida said his mother always feared for his well-being and was originally against him competing.
“Now my mother is happy for me, she knows I am doing what I always wanted to, but she still worries about me and is always going to the temple to pray for my luck and safety,” he reportedly told racing publication Raceform two months ago.
His mother was by his side when he died Tuesday, the newspaper reported.