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Dear fans and followers of Gumball,

It's been a dramatic and emotional week, full of stress, drama and one of disaster in Gumballs nine-year successful history. At this time of mourning my sincere condolence and deepest sympathy go out to the Chepuljoski family that suffered great loss last week.

I thank the many of you that have emailed and text such kind words that have shone light in these dark times, your comments have been uplifting to say the least. I nor anybody involved in the rally could ever have dreamt of a worse scenario or outcome to this years event.

With 6 million road miles covered by 2000 participating cars and crew in the rally over the past 9 years and no previous fatalities, its fair to say our safety record hasn't been at all bad, albeit one or two lucky escapes. In saying that, with such a safety record perhaps as many of the past few days arguments have stated, a fatal accident was inevitably going to happen.

Last Wednesday evening 2nd May, aware of the accident but not its severity, I, along with the rest of the Gumballers were hosted for a gala dinner by the Prime Minister of Albania in Tirana's Presidential Palace. Despite all kinds of rumours flying around the dinner table, the Macedonian authorities informed me that the elderly couple involved were in hospital but were 'okay'.

It was not until all cars were on route to Bratislava the following day that the call came through from the authorities with an official police report that Mr Vladimir Chepuljoski had died of a heart attack during the night caused by the trauma of the accident. I am aware that the timings of our press releases that followed the incident has upset many of you, as many of you felt to have been kept in the dark over the facts, and I even heard the word 'cover-up' being mentioned on one of the forums. I am sorry that it may have felt like this, but I can assure you that I, and the rest of our team were acting as efficiently as we could whilst also following the protocol of finding out the correct information before issuing any incorrect facts.

Our focus this week has been on helping the Chepuljoski family in their moment of need, and we are currently setting up a donation fund to help them through this time of suffering.

We've all put our heart and souls and endless hours into Gumball since its inception in 1999, with a common goal to unite people of all nations and to bring fun and entertainment around the world through the language of the motorcar. We are simply devastated at what has happened, and your continued support of everything positive about the Gumball is enormously appreciated.

Once again thank you for all your kind words, we will honor them all by posting them on our website in the coming weeks.

Maximillion Cooper

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