John Surtees, the first and only man to win both MotoGP and Formula One world titles, has died aged 83. He was admitted to St Georges Hospital, London in February with an existing respiratory condition and after a short period in intensive care he passed away peacefully this afternoon. His wife Jane and daughters Leonora and Edwina were by his side.
He was a seven-time motorcycling world champion, first winning at the 1955 Ulster Grand Prix and taking an incredible 38 wins from 49 Grand Prix start and taking not only the 1958, 1959 and 1960 350cc titles but also the premiere class 1956 1958, 1959 and 1960 500cc classes.
He left MotoGP behind in 1960, winning his last race at Monza, to embark on a career racing four wheels, winning the 1964 F1 championship for Ferrari.
However, despite his huge impact on motorsports as a racer, he left an equally important legacy as a charity campaigner following the death of his son Henry while racing in 2009. The Henry Surtees Foundation works to assist people with accidental injuries & help young people to develop their capabilities.
In a statement issued by his family, they paid tribute to the care and attention that he received during his time in St Georges Hospital.
“We deeply mourn the loss of such an incredible, kind and loving man as well as celebrate his amazing life. He has set a very real example of someone who kept pushing himself at his peak and one who continued fighting until the very end.
“We would like to thank all the staff at St George's Hospital and The East Surrey Hospital for their professionalism and support during this difficult time for us. Thank you also to all of those who have sent their kind messages in recent weeks.”
Motorcycle News joins the wider racing community is wishing our deepest condolences to John’s family and friends at this tragic time.