There’s sad news for TV and racing fans: Television host and race car driver Jessi Combs has died in a fatal car crash in Oregon while trying to break a land-speed record.
In an Instagram caption posted just days before her Aug. 27 death, the 39-year-old revealed that she was trying to hit speeds up to 619 mph.
Although the details of the crash haven’t been revealed, there was reportedly a fire involved in what her team told the New York Post was a “horrific crash.” She was driving the North American Eagle Supersonic Speed Challenger, a high-powered “jet vehicle.”
The Post reported that investigators will attempt to recover the jet car’s computers to find out exactly what went wrong.
In 2013, Combs set a women’s landspeed world record for women’s for four-wheeled vehicles by achieving an average speed of 398 mph in the North American Eagle, breaking the previous record of 308 mph that was set decades before. This week, she was attempting to beat the women’s overall record of 512 mph set by Kitty O’Neil in 1976.
She was also well-known for her work hosting TV shows like “All Girls Garage,” “Overhaulin'” and “Mythbusters.”
Her family released a statement, noting that Comb’s dream was to become the fastest woman on Earth and that she died pursuing her passion.
“People that loved her and followed her became family, all bonded together by adventure and passion,” the statement read in part. “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. Combs was one of the rare dreamers with the bravery to turn those possibilities into reality, and she left this earth driving faster than any other woman in history … Surrounded by her family and friends at the time of her passing, Jessi lived fearlessly and her legacy lives on in the countless lives she touched.”
On social media, many tributes from lives that Combs has touched are being posted.
Here’s one from Instagram user @rattymusclecars, saying, “She was an inspiration to all, defying stereotypes and physics alike, she could race, wrench, and fabricate with the absolute best of them.”
This one, from @tpsmotorsports, notes, “The world especially young girls and woman [sic] have lost a guiding light.”
Instagrammer @larryroeseler wrote, “I Aspire to be a quarter of the inspiration to others you are. You did what you loved all the way to the end.”
This tribute from @crawInder, featuring an image of Combs with a child, says, “Jesse I’m sure you will be the brightest and fastest star in the sky.”
A few months before her death, Combs posted this portrait, which showcases her personality perfectly:
Here’s a picture of her from a recent adventure in Italy:
Her last Instagram post was one that thanked her fans.
“I just want to thank all of you for your support and loyalty. That’s all. Have a nice day :),” she wrote.
Combs is one of many stars who’ve passed away this year.
She was definitely full of life and ambition, and will be missed!