Noel, Ricky and Doris Thurgood (Image: Supplied)
Racing is mourning the loss of popular jockey Elvis 'Ricky' Thurgood.
Thurgood, who suffered a catastrophic fall at Caulfield in the 1980 Easter Cup, died peacefully at Melbourne's Alfred Hospital overnight, aged 62.
Thurgood was on board Taras Regent when tragedy struck, with his mount suffering a fatal heart attack and collapsing.
Thurgood was rushed to hospital and doctors told the family it was unlikely he would survive the night.
His injuries included a traumatic brain injury of the highest magnitude, as well as extreme and multiple physical deficits that saw him require round-the-clock care for his every need.
But showing unbelievable spirit and courage, Thurgood not only survived but thrived for 41 more years.
He is survived by his parents Noel and Doris, brother Derek and sister Debbie, as well as his immediate family Brian, Wendy, Andrew, Kellie and Vanessa.
"As Ricky's loving parents and family, the past 41 years have been like nothing we could have ever have anticipated," the family said in a statement.
"Our blessing is that we have been able to care for Ricky at home throughout that time. We love him beyond all else and his passing leaves us heartbroken."
Ricky's family passed on their appreciation to 'the thousands of people who over the past 41 years have played a part in Ricky's unique life journey'.
The talented rider was born in November 1958 in Sri Lanka and his parents moved him and his siblings out to Australia in 1969 when he was 10.
Going to school near Caulfield Racecourse sparked his interest in the industry and a career as a jockey soon beckoned.
His boss was legendary Caulfield-based trainer Angus Armanasco.
At 17 he took his first race ride at Flemington in 1976 and shortly after, on April 3, he scored his first race win on World Wonder at Caulfield.
By 1980 he'd notched up 58 winners from 522 rides but that tragic fall would cut his promising career short.
Racing Victoria CEO Giles Thompson said racing has the Thurgood family in their thoughts.
"On behalf of Racing Victoria and all involved in racing, I extend our deepest sympathies to the Thurgood family at this time. Ricky was a highly talented and respected young rider making his way in Victorian racing when the injury occurred," he said.
"To Ricky's parents, Noel and Doris, please know that we recognise Ricky for the incredible courage he has shown over the past 41 years, and know we will remember the unwavering love and care shown by you to your son over this amazing journey."
Victorian Jockeys' Association CEO Matthew Hyland said Thurgood was a 'much-loved and valued member of the Victorian jockey group'.
"We recognise Ricky's successes as a jockey, we salute the unbelievable reserves of bravery and courage he called on over the past 41 years of a truly extraordinary life, and we pay every possible tribute to the unfailing dedication shown by his loving, kind and amazing parents, Noel and Doris, and to the love and support provided by his brother Derek and his sister Debbie," Hyland said.
"I speak for all VJA members in especially recognising and thanking Lisa Stevens from the RV/VJA Jockey Assistance Program and my predecessor Des O'Keeffe for their unwavering support of Ricky and the Thurgood family. Rest peacefully Ricky."