A leading motorcycle journalist has died in an accident at a press launch in South Africa.
Kevin Ash, who was motorcycling correspondent for The Daily Telegraph for 15 years, died yesterday at the BMW event, the company said.
Friends and colleagues paid tribute today to the freelance journalist and columnist, who was married with three daughters.
Fellow journalist Geoff Hill, who was at the same launch as Kevin, said:
No one is still quite sure what happened, and we won't know more until the police and BMW investigation has finished, but all of us on the launch from the British bike world are devastated, and are still finding it hard to believe that Kevin won't just walk through the door with a witty remark.
He was not only a legend in motorcycling journalism, with an unsurpassed technical knowledge and writing style, but a close friend to us all, and the world of motorcycling in general, and motorcycling journalism in particular, is today a much poorer place without him.
Tony Gallagher, editor of the Daily Telegraph, said:
Kevin Ash was the doyen of motorcycle correspondents. Respected throughout journalism and the motorcycle trade, he was also one of our most admired motoring columnists and will be greatly missed by both Telegraph staff and readers.
Our thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family at this difficult and sad time.
Ash was a columnist for Motorcycle News (MCN), where he had been assistant editor before leaving to write for a range of publications.
He also had his own motorcycle news website, Ash On Bikes, where fans today left messages of condolence.
BMW released an official statement late last night, saying.
It is with deep regret that BMW Motorrad confirms the fatal injury of Kevin Ash in a motorcycle accident during a launch event in South Africa.
The accident happened to the north of a town called George, 250 kilometres east of Cape Town. Out of respect for Kevin's family and friends, no further information is being made available at this time.
In a statement on its website, MCN said it was "deeply saddened" at his death:
A qualified engineer, Kevin began his motorcycle journalism career as a founder member of Fast Bikes magazine in 1991 before joining MCN in 1994 rising to assistant editor in 1997," it said.
He then left to become a prolific freelance writer, not just for MCN and the Telegraph but for magazines around the world.
Known for his technical authority, clarity of expression and prolific output, Kevin was also sharp-witted, great company, a devoted husband and father to his wife and three daughters and universally liked.
MCN passes on our deep condolences to his family and will be paying Kevin a full tribute in next week's edition.
BMW said Ash was fatally injured during a launch event north of the town of George, 155 miles (250km) east of Cape Town.
Adrian Roderick, general manager for BMW Motorrad UK, said:
We are shocked and deeply saddened to hear the awful news about Kevin Ash; one of the most well-liked, experienced and respected journalists in the extremely close-knit motorcycle community.
Losing Kevin is a tragedy which will be felt across the entire industry. He was a friend, as much as a journalist, and will be sorely missed. Our heartfelt thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues at this awful time.