After a serious crash in the Japanese Grand Prix last October, Formula 1 driver Jules Bianchi has passed away from severe head injuries he sustained in the crash. In that incident, Bianchi's car slammed into a tractor that was clearing Adrian Sutil's wreck. Bianchi's was just a few weeks away from celebrating his 26th birthday on August 6. 

Bianchi was a member of Ferrari's driver development program and became a Formula 1 test driver for the team in 2011. He made his competition debut in 2013 and scored his first points in the 2014 Monaco Grand Prix. He finished 9th in that race. Former Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo once said Bianchi was to become Ferrari's third driver if F1 decides to go for three car teams. 

The Bianchi family has released a full statement regarding the young driver's passing:

It is with deep sadness that the parents of Jules Bianchi, Philippe and Christine, his brother Tom and sister Mélanie, wish to make it known that Jules passed away last night at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire (CHU) in Nice, (France) where he was admitted following the accident of 5th October 2014 at Suzuka Circuit during the Japanese Formula 1 Grand Prix.

"Jules fought right to the very end, as he always did, but today his battle came to an end," said the Bianchi family. "The pain we feel is immense and indescribable. We wish to thank the medical staff at Nice’s CHU who looked after him with love and dedication. We also thank the staff of the General Medical Center in the Mie Prefecture (Japan) who looked after Jules immediately after the accident, as well as all the other doctors who have been involved with his care over the past months."

"Furthermore, we thank Jules' colleagues, friends, fans and everyone who has demonstrated their affection for him over these past months, which gave us great strength and helped us deal with such difficult times. Listening to and reading the many messages made us realise just how much Jules had touched the hearts and minds of so many people all over the world."

"We would like to ask that our privacy is respected during this difficult time, while we try to come to terms with the loss of Jules."