The 37-year-old, and former Giro d'Italia winner, was hit by a van at an intersection shortly after leaving for a training ride. When the tragic news was announced, reactions from teammates, fellow riders, teams and the rest of the cycling fraternity quickly poured in.
He won the opening stage at the Tour of the Alps on Monday and wore the race leader's jersey for a day. He dedicated his victory to the earthquake victims of central Italy, to his wife Anna and their young twin sons, Giacomo and Tommaso.
Giuseppe Saronni, Scarponi's former manager and current Team UAE Emirates GM and the team said they were "honored for having had the privilege of spending with him moments which he contributed to be special", and offered condolences to his family.
The race organisers of the Tour of the Alps were shocked at the news.
"A few hours ago Michele Scarponi was here with us, a great protagonist and a stage winner at the Tour of the Alps ending in Trento," said Giacomo Santini, president of the GS Alto Garda. "He was back home on Friday night, and he barely had the time to rejoin his wife and kids before his tragic fate brought him away. It's a huge void and a huge pain for the whole cycling family. He was a champion on the road, and of sympathy too.
"At the starts, he was always willing and available for autographs, chatting, always smiling. We feel honored to have given him his final victory. But this also makes us feel even more involved in the grief of his beloveds."
General Manager Maurizio Evangelista said the news "leaves us breathless".
"We don't have enough words to express to his family the huge pain we are suffering, just like the whole cycling family. Michele Scarponi was a great professional, deeply in love with his job, and above all an extremely likable person, always kind, easygoing and available for everybody. His example should remain fixed in the mind of everybody who practices this sport.”
Geraint Thomas, who recently went head-to-head with Scarponi at the Tour of Alps, posted his respects on Twitter, as did many of Scarponi's current and former Astana teammates.
This is a tragedy too big to be written. Here is the official press release of the Astana Pro Team https://t.co/TDNc6MkkD1 Ciao Michele.— Astana Proteam (@AstanaTeam) April 22, 2017
Devastated to hear the news about Scarponi. Can't believe it. My thoughts with all his friends, family and team— Geraint Thomas (@GeraintThomas86) April 22, 2017
Non lo so , non c'è la faccio ! Non ho parole amico mio...— Vincenzo Nibali (@vincenzonibali) April 22, 2017
Tragedia infinita. Non esistono parole. Riposa in pace Amico mio.— Fabio Aru (@FabioAru1) April 22, 2017
Terrible news to wake up to. One of the smiliest happiest guys in the peloton. RIP— Alex Dowsett (@alexdowsett) April 22, 2017
Our thoughts and prayers go to the family, friends and team of Michele Scarponi, who passed away this morning in a traffic incident. pic.twitter.com/12bWoMHi05— Quick-Step Cycling (@quickstepteam) April 22, 2017
News of Scarponis death has hit hard, harder than others recently because social media took us into his life, with his humour & family RIP pic.twitter.com/WbNLpkiAA5— Trudgin (@Trudgin) April 22, 2017
A tragic accident took you away from us. You will always be in our hearts and on our roads. Ciao Michele pic.twitter.com/GU5SJHtSYr— Giro d'Italia (@giroditalia) April 22, 2017
Dio mio, dimmi la verità. Michele ti era troppo simpatico e l'hai voluto accanto a te? Se no non me lo spiego proprio... Non è giusto. pic.twitter.com/lOvnpwIQoC— Michele Acquarone (@micacquarone) April 22, 2017
Scarpaaaa ! Mi mancherai amico mio ti voglio bene