(CNN) -- Italy's MotoGP star Marco Simoncelli was killed in a crash on the second lap of the Malaysian MotoGP Sunday.
The tragic accident happened when Simoncelli came off at Turn 11 of the Sepang circuit while in fourth place.
His Honda bike swerved across the track and he was hit by fellow competitors Colin Edwards and Valentino Rossi.
Simoncelli, 24, had his helmet knocked off in the crash and he lay motionless on the track.
American Edwards also fell but escaped serious injury, while former multi-world champion Rossi returned unhurt to the pits on his Ducati.
The race was abandoned and Simoncelli was given emergency treatment at the track's medical center, but it was to no avail.
"Marco Simoncelli succumbed to injuries sustained in the Malaysian MotoGP," read a short statement on the official MotoGP website to confirm the fatality.
It came just a week after the tragic death of two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Dan Wheldon at a race in Las Vegas.
On the same day, 2010 MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo crashed as he warmed up for last week's round in Australia and sustained a serious hand injury.
Lorenzo's misfortune meant Australian Casey Stoner wrapped up the world title with two races still to go, Sunday's race in Malaysia, and the final round in Spain.
Rossi, a seven-time world champion in motorcycling's elite category, left the track devastated by the accident involving his fellow Italian and "good friend" Simoncelli.
Rossi's team manager at Ducati, Vittoriano Gureschi, gave his reaction.
"Valentino is shocked by this incident. Valentino is a strong man but this incident is a big tragedy. He has lost a good friend," he said.
The Italian sports community was left stunned by Simoncelli's death and a minute's silence was held at all major events, including Serie A football games.