The opening special of the Monte Carlo Rally was cancelled Thursday after a spectator was fatally injured in an accident involving New Zealander Hayden Paddon's Hyundai i20.
Paddon was fourth to start the opening event of this year's world championship, but lost control of his vehicle on a slippery left-hand bend in the final third of the special 21.25-kilometre (13.2-mile) stage from Entrevaux to Ubraye.
Organisers said a spectator who was taking pictures as Paddon approached on the icy road was hurt and airlifted to hospital in nearby Nice.
"Despite the best efforts of the medical staff, the spectator has sadly died," they said in a statement.
"An investigation has commenced and all involved parties will provide assistance to the authorities."
Paddon said he was shocked at the death of the fan, who sources said was a 50-year-old Spanish man.
"I an incredibly saddened by today's accident and my thoughts are with the family and friends of the person involved," he tweeted.
"It's difficult to say much more at the moment as we are in shock with what's happened."
Television images showed his car ended up on its side after the skid, with Paddon and co-driver John Kennard escaping unhurt.
Immediately after the accident, Paddon described the accident on Twitter.
"Caught out by black ice near the end of the stage. The car snapped sideways and then we were a passenger(s)," he wrote.
Earlier, quadruple world champion Sebastien Ogier had lost 0.7sec to Hyundai's Belgian driver Thierry Neuville.
Other drivers already on the course or yet to start had their special scrapped and will receive an average time following the second special.
Following the accident, the cars headed off in convoy to start special stage 2 from 2200 GMT.