The motorsports website DirtFish reported that a serious crash occurred during a test run on Thursday afternoon ahead of next week's Croatia Rally.
While co-driver James Fulton survived the incident, 33-year-old Irish racing star Craig Breen was not so fortunate.
According to DirtFish, the crash occurred in Croatia between Stari Golubovac and Lobora when the vehicle that Breen was driving collided with a pole.
The website noted that Hyundai Motorsport issued a statement which said the company was "deeply saddened to confirm that driver Craig Breen today lost his life following an accident during the pre-event test for Croatia Rally."
"Co-driver James Fulton was unharmed in the incident that occurred just after midday local time," the statement went on to confirm.
"Hyundai Motorsport sends its sincerest condolences to Craig’s family, friends and his many fans. Hyundai Motorsport will make no further comment at this time," it concluded.
Statement from Hyundai Motorsport pic.twitter.com/GLNXbphVQW
— hmsgofficial (@HMSGOfficial) April 13, 2023
TMZ reported that Breen was the son of fellow Irish racing legend Ray Breen and began karting in 1999 before switching to rally racing in 2009.
He went on to compete in 81 rallies and scored a number of championships, including at the 2011 WRC Academy as well as the 2012 WRC Super 2000 world rally.
The website added that Breen lost his best friend and former co-driver Gareth Roberts in a fatal crash just over a decade ago.
Tributes to Breen quickly appeared on social media, including from Michelin Motorsport. The organization lamented that the Irish racer "lost his life in a testing accident today."
Everyone at Michelin Motorsport is extremely saddened to learn that Hyundai Motorsport's Craig Breen lost his life in a testing accident today.
Our sincerest condolences go out to the Irishman's family and many friends. pic.twitter.com/Z4jdjcmSBc
— Michelin Motorsport (@Michelin_Sport) April 13, 2023
Meanwhile, the race team Toksport WRT tweeted that it has been "left saddened" by Breen's death and added that "service parks around the world will be a less bright place" in his absence.
Toksport WRT is left saddened by the news that Craig Breen has passed away. The service parks around the world will be a less bright place without you around.
Condolences to his family, friends, Hyundai Motorsport teammates and fans of which there are many 🙏 pic.twitter.com/Ir9Qf02QRt
— Toksport WRT (@toksportwrt) April 13, 2023