Motorsport legend John Surtees dies aged 83

Updated: 
File photo dated 03-04-1961 of John Surtees.

Former Formula One world champion John Surtees has died today aged 83.

The British driver, who remains the only man to have won world championships on both two and four wheels, passed away this afternoon after having been admitted to hospital last month with an existing cardiac condition.

Surtees rode motorcycles in the 1950s, and won the 500cc championship in 1956 before going on to win the 350cc and 500cc crowns in 1958, 1959 and 1960.

Then, in 1960, Surtees made the switch to four wheels, and won the 1964 Formula One world championship.

He was also made an MBE in 1959, and awarded an OBE in 2008, before being created a CBE for services to motorsport in 2016.

A statement from the Henry Surtees Foundation, which was set up in memory of Surtees' son, Henry, who was tragically killed in a motor racing accident in 2009, said: "It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our husband and father, John Surtees CBE.

"John was admitted to St George's 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.

"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."

Tributes have poured in from across the motorsport community, with the Motor Sports Association chief executive Rob Jones saying: "John's passing is an enormous loss to motorsport in so many ways: the legend, the history, the heritage, the passion and the commitment, not to mention the success, which will not be surpassed."

The Mercedes-AMG F1 team tweeted: "Remembering the inspirational John Surtees, a legend on four wheels and two. Our thoughts are with his family and friends. RIP."