It is with great sadness that we report of the passing of one of motorcycling’s most controversial figures. Michael Czysz died Saturday, May 7 after a long battle with cancer.

Czysz will be remembered for trying to take on the MotoGP establishment with his radical C1 prototype – an attempt that ultimately failed due to constant rule changes making it virtually impossible for Czysz to even make it to the grid. Down but far from out, Czysz later turned his attention to the Isle of Man TT and the emerging TT Zero race for electric motorcycles. There, the E1pc electric racing motorcycles he designed would go on to win the TT Zero four consecutive times from 2010 – 2013. Along the way the E1pc also became the first electric motorcycle to lap the legendary TT course at an average speed of 100 mph.

It seemed as though Michael Czysz was just getting started dominating the world of electric motorcycle racing, until his absence from the 2013 TT Zero race left many wondering of his whereabouts. This was the year Czysz was diagnosed with his illness, and the downward spiral slowly began. Almost instantly, his motorcycle company, MotoCzysz ceased operations and Michael’s new focus was simply beating cancer.

Design has always been the staple of Michael Czysz’s creations, and it’s what brought him fame and fortune at his design firm, Architropolis, where A-list celebrities like Cindy Crawford and Lenny Kravitz entrusted him with building a dream home fit for the stars.

While Michael Czysz was loved and revered by many for his outside-the-box approach to racing, engineering and, of course, design, he was also a controversial figure to some because of he wasn’t an engineer by trade. His no-nonsense attitude and laser-like focus to the task at hand made him difficult to get along with, but it’s also a significant reason for his success.

On a personal level, I’m honored to have had the chance to meet, interview, ride, and form a professional relationship with Michael Czysz. If you haven’t already, you can read my interview with him here, where he opened up about his illness. And this follow-up story gives a closer look at Michael Czysz, the motorcycling pioneer. Rest in peace, Michael.