Longtime jockey Richard Gamez has died after he suffered devastating injuries in a fall from his horse during a race Sunday at a famous Arizona track.
The 66-year-old was reportedly in the lead at Rillito Park Racetrack in the Tucson area when his horse suddenly bucked him from his saddle.
Gamez hit the ground ... and after he was trampled by another horse -- he was rushed to the hospital with serious injuries.
On Monday, track officials announced Gamez had died ... and in an interview with the Arizona Daily Star, a track spokesperson said the injuries were catastrophic.
We are devastated to have lost a member of our Rillito family. Our deepest sympathy goes out to Richard's family and friends. Richard was a fantastic human being and a true horseman. Today we are all GAMEZ. pic.twitter.com/TO8PozJKvh
"The accident was such that it didn’t really have anything to do with his age," Rillito Park Foundation president Jaye Wells said. "I'm no medical expert, but we believe the brain injury was such that he wouldn't have survived if he'd been 20."
Gamez's horse was reportedly not injured in the accident.
Gamez had been racing and raising horses for decades ... reportedly running in hundreds of events and winning more than $1 MILLION in prize money.
"He was a good guy. A hell of a guy. He loved horses," his friend, Hector Pinedo, told the Arizona Daily Star. "He loved the sport of kings, and he died doing what he did best."
Race officials say there will be some sort of event honoring Gamez at the track later this weekend.