Perez, 40, dies a week after serious crash

Updated: January 10, 2005, 11:32 AM ET
Associated Press

MADRID, Spain -- Spanish motorcyclist Jose Manuel Perez, injured last week in the Dakar Rally, died Monday, a hospital said.

Following an accident last Thursday on the rally's seventh stage in Mauritania, Africa, surgeons removed Perez's spleen and kidney before he was transferred to a hospital in Alicante, Spain.

But Perez, 40, developed a fever and died early Monday, just hours after he had been flown in from Mauritania, the hospital said.

The Dakar Rally covers 5,566 miles from Barcelona, Spain, to Dakar, Senegal, including. It ends on Jan. 16.

More than 30 people have died in conjunction with the rally since it was first held in 1979, including the race's organizer, Thierry Sabine, in 1986 when his helicopter crashed in the desert.

The last driver killed was French co-driver Bruno Cauvy in January, 2003. Cauvy, 48, was dead when doctors arrived at the crash site by helicopter.

The car's lead driver, Daniel Nebot, wasn't injured in the crash, on the stage between Zilla and Sarir in Lybia.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press