The funeral of former MotoGP champion Nicky Hayden took place today at St. Stephen Cathedral Church in his hometown of Owensboro, Kentucky.

The immensely popular 35-year-old - a MotoGP racer from 2003-2015 - tragically died on May 22 from injuries sustained in a road accident, whilst training on his bicycle near Misano.

The traditional ceremony, watched from around the world via a live stream on Hayden's official Facebook page, featured readings and hymns, plus personal memories of Hayden by the priest, Father Tony:

"To the world, Nicky was world champion, hero, a winner. He was that to us too. But again, to Rose and Earl, he was a son. To Tommy and Jenny, Roger Lee and Kathleen, he was a brother. To Jackie, he was a soulmate.

"...I started thinking of words which we could use to describe Nicky. There's a lot of them: Kentucky Kid, giver, listener. He was determined, driven, goal orientated. At age 3 he listed a number of things he wanted to accomplish in life and he came pretty close to accomplishing them all.

"He was loyal, not only to his family but to his friends. If you were a friend of Nicky, you were a friend for life. He was funny, the life of a party. Witty. He was grounded in who he was. He was comfortable in his own skin. There's another word we've probably seen the side of; mischievous. In his senior year he was voted by his peers as most mischievous of all!

"But as I reflect upon those words, while they do Nicky justice, there's another word that I'd like to concentrate on; Nicky was a gift to so many people. He was a gift to you, his parents, and to your family, and to Jackie. He was a gift, first and foremost."

Hayden had been competing in his second season of World Superbikes, having claimed one win and four podiums during his rookie campaign for Ten Kate Honda.

The American was also called-up for two MotoGP starts last year, with Marc VDS and Repsol Honda, the team with which he began his world championship career and won the MotoGP title in 2006.

World Superbike paid its respects to Hayden at Donington Park, with MotoGP honouring the #69 at the forthcoming Italian Grand Prix.

Nicky Hayden is survived by his parents Earl and Rose, siblings Tommy, Jennifer, Roger, and Kathleen, and his fianc?e Jackie Marin, all of whom accompanied Hayden's coffin and sat at the front of the church.

Friend and former rival Colin Edwards was also among those present at today's ceremony.

Donations can be made to the Nicky Hayden memorial fund, which helps children in Hayden's local community.