Last we heard, Bianchi had begun rehabilitation at the end of 2014, although he remained unconscious following the October crash at Suzuka. He was running for the Marussia F1 team at the time of the wreck, which the FIA pinned on the young driver. He hit a recovery vehicle that was aiding Adrian Sutil's stricken racer and sustained serious head injuries.
"Jules fought right to the very end, as he always did, but today his battle came to an end," the Bianchi family said in its statement. "The pain we feel is immense and indescribable."
As our friends at Jalopnik's Blackflag motorsports blog noted, Bianchi's young career showed promise. He was a test driver for Ferrari and Sahara Force India before moving to Marussia, where he finished ninth at the 2014 Monaco Grand Prix, his best and only points-scoring finish in open-wheel racing's ultimate discipline.
Autoblog's sincerest condolences go out to the Bianchi family, the Marussia F1 team, and the F1 community at large. You can read the full statement from the Bianchi family, published to the Jules Bianchi Fan Club Facebook page, below.
Saturday 18 July 2015
02.45hrs France │ 01.45hrs UK
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."