Hans Trunkenpolz, the 65-year-old son of KTM's founder, died Sunday following a heart attack suffered during a half marathon in Altötting, Bavaria.
Trunkenpolz retired in December 2008 following a career dedicated to KTM and motorsport. He headed KTM's rally department, leading the OEM to eight successive victories in the Dakar Rally, and discovered and nurtured motocross champion Heinz Kinigadner.
"KTM above all mourns the loss of a wonderful human being," the company said in a prepared statement. "Our sympathy goes to the family of the unforgettable 'Trupo.'"
The company now building motorcycles was founded by Hans Trunkenpolz Sr. in Mattighofen, Austria, in 1934 as a metalworking shop named Kraftfahrzeug Trunkenpolz Mattighofen. The company began building motorcycles in 1953, the same year businessman Ernst Kronreif acquired a sizable share of the operation — a move that led to the name Kronreif & Trunkenpolz Mattighofen.
Trunkenpolz's death comes 20 years after the death of his brother, Eric, who also died unexpectedly. Another Trunkenpolz, Hubert, continues to work with the OEM as a member of its management team.
—Submitted by Guido Ebert