The race car driver and TV personality died last week while pursuing a land speed record in Oregon

By Aurelie Corinthios
September 02, 2019 10:10 AM
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As he mourns the loss of his girlfriend Jessi Combs, Terry Madden is sharing some of his most special memories of her with fans.

“Not sure how to cope. I miss my @thejessicombs so bad…” he wrote on Instagram Sunday of the late professional racer and television personality, who died last week in Oregon while pursuing a land speed record.

“It’s a constant for me to be in our favorites file on my phone looking at our pictures,” he continued. “I decided this morning to start sharing the stories that go with these every morning.”

Alongside a black-and-white selfie of the couple dressed as mimes on Halloween last year in Las Vegas, Madden called his evening with the Mythbusters star “the single greatest night of my life.”

“We had more fun than I knew it was possible to have,” he wrote. “Didn’t drink a drop and on the greatest pure happiness high ever, we laughed we loved and we never said a word.”

“We made a bet before leaving the room on who talked first,” he recalled. “For 5 hours we never said a word, and we knew exactly what the other was thinking, the connection was so amazing. We saw all of our friends and fans and acted out together as the perfect team as if we had rehearsed it our whole life — knowing exactly what the other was thinking to talk with people. It was that night and the next morning we laid and talked and realized how truly connected we were and how amazing it was we knew what the other was thinking at most times.”

“There is still a really upset cab driver out there someplace that got to see the greatest 5 min charade of us acting out west gate hotel on the side walk because we wouldn’t talk,” he added. “Held character the entire night… he was pissed and we laughed until our cheeks hurt!!! #jessiandterry #doitforjessi #bestnightofmylife #mimes #love.”

In a second post, Madden recalled his and Combs’ special connection with the phrase “remember that time.”

“We used to always talk about our memories and #rockingchairstories that we would sit around at nursing home and say ‘remember that time’ and everyone would listen because we would have the best stories…” he explained. “Then it became a joke that right in the middle of something rad one of us would say remember that time noting that we were in middle of something epic and memorable.”

Alongside a selfie of the two at the Grand Canyon, Madden shared the story of their road trip through Albuquerque, New Mexico.

“She said she wanted to watch the sun rise over the Grand Canyon as she did many times as a kid,” he wrote. “We pulled into the Grand Canyon 3am ish around the gate and snuck into the camping. We were in chase 5 — threw up the rooftop tent and got ready for bed.”

“We had laid there 3-4 minutes when she asked how far you think we are from it?” he went on. “I opened my maps and saw a little blue line about 3/4 mile away — I said it’s just over there… she says you sure? And Mr. confident me says yah of course see river — river equals canyon. She jumps up, bails out of tent and says let’s go? Me: now? Her: duh lol and runs off into dark. I’m trying to throw my pants on take off after her into the trees. We walk by cell phone light 3/4 mile thru the trees to my blue line — all the while her asking if I’m sure? And me in my best military nav voice saying, ‘babe I got this.'”

“About this time we walk right up to the rim in the dark of the NOT SO GRAND CANYON about 2′ deep 2′ wide ditch with a small stream running thru it,” he continued. “I’m embarrassed bad — zoom map out and realize giant blue river line opposite direction from camp and this is tiny stream…”

But according to Madden, Combs just laughed off the mistake.

“She laughed and laughed and we laid on ground and watched the stars and fell asleep on top of my jacket beside the not so Grand Canyon,” he recalled. “We woke up just before sunrise and ran back to truck, grabbed a blanket she was freezing and on to the real Grand Canyon, watched the sunrise and hauled ass….. @thejessicombs was so magic at turning a mistake into a possibility!”

On his Instagram Story, Madden admitted he was struggling with the loss but was doing his best to stay positive for Combs’ sake.

“Morning!” he captioned a photo of the sunrise. “I’m not able to put a good in front of that but I am able to get out of bed and keep pushing. She loved watching the sun rise.”

Combs’ death was confirmed to PEOPLE by the Harney County Sheriff’s Office, which responded to the scene of the jet-car crash in the Alvord Desert in southeastern Oregon on Aug. 27. Combs was pronounced dead at the scene; the cause of the crash is still unknown.

In a statement provided to Jalopnik, the car publication, and other media outlets, Combs’ family remembered her “bright smile, positivity, and tenacious pursuit of the fulfillment of her dreams.”

“It is with extreme grief, and in celebration of her life that her family and close friends share that race car driver, and TV personality Jessi Combs, passed away in a fatal crash, where she was pursuing a land speed record in the North American Eagle on August, 27th 2019 on a dry lake bed in Oregon,” they began. “The details of the crash have not been released at this time.”

Combs held the title of the “fastest woman on four wheels” after breaking 398 mph in that same North American Eagle Supersonic Speed Challenger in 2013, according to her personal website.

“Jessi was known for her bright smile, positivity, and tenacious pursuit of the fulfillment of her dreams,” the family said. “Her drive was infectious, and she served as a role model for young girls, and women around the world. People that loved her and followed her became family, all bonded together by adventure and passion. Her fans adored her, and she lived to inspire them. Jessi’s most notable dream was to become the fastest woman on Earth, a dream she had been chasing since 2012. Combs was one of the rare dreamers with the bravery to turn those possibilities into reality, and she left this earth driving faster than any other woman in history.”

“Surrounded by her family and friends at the time of her passing, Jessi lived fearlessly and her legacy lives on in the countless lives she touched,” they continued.

According to the family, a celebration of Combs’ life in being planned and a foundation is being created to “continue her efforts to empower women and young girls to follow their dreams.”