Elite New Zealand cyclist Alexander Ray is unconscious in hospital fighting for his life after a collision with a car in Auckland this morning - 18 months after he was struck down with Leptospirosis.
Ray was taken to Auckland City Hospital in a critical condition after being hit at 6am on the intersection of Morningside Drive and New North Road.
He is now in a serious condition and will soon go in to surgery to assess the swelling on his brain.
Lifelong friend and fellow high-performance cyclist Roman van Uden said he and three other friends had visited Ray in the hospital while he was unconscious.
"He is not conscious right now and was unconscious at the scene of the accident.
"He is being kept unconscious and has significant facial and shoulder fractures and rib fractures. He is going into surgery at the moment, to monitor his brain swelling," Uden said.
Uden and Ray had been friends since they both attended Auckland Grammar School and rode together in the school's cycling team.
In the years since, they rode competitively and for leisure. They planned to ride in Invercargill for the Tour of Southland in 2016 but Ray did not make it to the start line.
He was struck down by a mystery illness, first thought to be the flu, that was not identified until days after he was hospitalised.
He had Leptospirosis, a condition in which his liver and kidney was shutting down, his skin turned yellow and proteins and muscles in his legs were being eaten by bacteria.
But like most things in life it did not take long for Ray to be back on his bike doing what he loved most, Uden said.
"He is a nuggety dude. He was back on the bike while he was still yellow.
"He doesn't let anything stop him from training," Uden said.
Ray was "stubborn and certainly self-motivated and self-driven and he won't let this stop him from getting back to it".
"Cycling is his everything, if he is in New Zealand he is working to go racing overseas."
His parents, Tracey and Peter, said he was being well looked after and thanked the public for their messages of support.
"Four of his closest friends are with him in the hospital."
A 2017 post from Ray's Facebook page said he had been hit by a car in Auckland but had not been injured.