Motocross Legend Passes (UPDATED)

Cycle News Staff | January 13, 2021

We reported on Monday, January 11, that Joel Robert had been hospitalized in critical condition, and we have just learned that the Belgian motocross legend has passed away. He was 77.

Robert’s health deteriorated rapidly after being infected with Covid-19.

Motocross legend Joel Robert
Six-time Motocross World Champion, Belgian Joel Robert passed away on Wednesday, January 13. Photo by Scott Cox

The Belgian was originally treated on Monday, January 4, for the virus, and was released from the hospital. At home, his condition deteriorated quickly, and he was rushed to Gilly hospital (Grand Hospital De Charleroi) in Belgium on Wednesday, January 6, where he went into cardiac arrest while in the emergency room. Doctors concluded that the cardiac arrest, which lasted several minutes, resulted in “damage to vital functions,” Robert’s partner Josiane Marit told the newspaper Le Soir.

Robert is one of the most decorated motocross athletes in the history of the sport. He was also regarded for creating and organizing motocross events in Belgium such as the Coupe de l’Aveir and the 12 Hours of Chinelle.

Six-time Motocross World Champion, Belgian Joel Robert

All of Roberts’ World titles came in the 250cc class. His first came while riding a CZ in 1962 at just 21 years of age. He went on to win the title again in 1968 and 1969 before joining Suzuki on which he won three more consecutive titles.

Robert has dealt with health problems in recent years such as diabetes, which caused him to have part of his leg amputated in 2018. The Belgian has had multiple strokes and was starting to incur heart and lung issues, as well.

Our hearts are with the friends and family of Joel Robert, whose contributions to the sport and larger-than-life personality are unparalleled. CN


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