CNN  — 

Four-time Pikes Peak International Hill Climb winner Carlin Dunne is being mourned by the motorsport world after the 36-year-old was killed in a crash at the iconic Colorado race on Sunday.

Dunne – who was defending his title at the 97th edition of the race – crashed his 2019 Ducati Streetfighter V4 Prototype bike less than a quarter of a mile from the finish line.

Pikes Peak officials confirmed his death in a statement on Sunday.

“We mourn the tragic death of Carlin and he will remain in our hearts forever as part of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb family,” race organizers said.

“Carlin will be remembered as a warm-hearted mentor with a competitive spirit. He was a gentle and thoughtful man who touched everyone who met him.

Carlin Dunne’s mother has paid a moving tribute to her late son following his tragic death at this year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

READ: Carlin Dunne’s interview with CNN Sport ahead of 2019 Pikes Peak race

Having been crowned the motorcycle winner in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2018, Dunne had achieved legendary status at the Pikes Peak race.

He set the course record in 2012, though that was eventually broken in 2017 by Chris Fillmore.

The race is run on a 12.42-mile public toll-road and is comprised of 156 turns as competitors climb 4,720 feet, from the 9,390 feet start line to the 14,115 feet finish line at the mountain’s summit.

Jason Chinnock, CEO of Ducati North America, added: “There are no words to describe our shock and sadness. Carlin was part of our family and one of the most genuine and kind men we have ever known.

Having been crowned the Pikes Peak motorcycle winner in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2018, Dunne had achieved legendary status at the race.

A beloved individual

In an interview with Cycle World in July 2018, Dunne revealed he took a break from professional racing between 2014 and 2017 to focus on his love of film – working on the “Dust to Glory 2” movie – before being invited back to race at Pikes Peak by Ducati.

“Film has been a big thing my entire life. I went to film school and was the head of the film club in high school,” Dunne told Cycle World.

“I always envisioned myself working in the film industry, either as a second unit director doing stunts myself; anything where I could be creative at the onset, doing something different every day.

“And so I started to pursue those avenues a little bit more once I stopped racing full time.”

The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is an annual automobile and motorcycle hillclimb to the summit of Pikes Peak

Public support

The Ducati racer – who was also a stuntman – had ridden two-wheelers almost since he could walk. His father was a professional rider, while Dunne started his career as a bike salesman.

Following Dunne’s death there has been outpouring of support for Gallardo.

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“It really is something else to work so hard throughout the year to come to this, because it’s not just like you just load the truck up and come out here.

“I would like to give a massive worldwide thank you to all of Carlin’s extended family and friends near and far!” said Gallardo.

There's not one but 156 corners to negotiate in the "Race to the Clouds."