US racer and TV personality Jessi Combs has died in a car crash at the age of 39, during an attempt to break a new land speed record.
Jessi’s family confirmed in a statement that she had died in the crash, in south-east Oregon.
“It is with extreme grief, and in celebration of her life that her family and close friends share that race car driver, and TV personality Jessi Combs, passed away in a fatal crash, where she was pursuing a land speed record in the North American Eagle on August, 27th 2019 on a dry lake bed in Oregon,” they said. “The details of the crash have not been released at this time.”
They continued: “Jessi was known for her bright smile, positivity, and tenacious pursuit of the fulfilment of her dreams. Her drive was infectious, and she served as a role model for young girls, and women around the world.
“People that loved her and followed her became family, all bonded together by adventure and passion. Her fans adored her, and she lived to inspire them. Jessi’s most notable dream was to become the fastest woman on Earth, a dream she had been chasing since 2012.”
It was also noted that Jessi had been “surrounded by her family and friends at the time of her passing”, while her family also revealed plans to set up a foundation in her honour, to “empower women and young girls to follow their dreams”.
Jessi was best known as the co-host of Xtreme 4x4, as well as briefly hosting Mythbusters while regular presenter Kari Byron was on maternity leave.
She previously earned the title of the “fastest woman on four wheels” when she reached 398 mph (641km/h) in 2013, and had been trying to break the all-time land record held by the late Kitty O’Neil at the time of her death.