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Legendary F1 Great John Surtees Dies At 83

Legendary racing driver John Surtees, who won the formula one world championship with Ferrari in 1964 and four world motorcycle championships, becoming the only man to win titles in both disciplines, died Friday in his home in England due to an existing respiratory condition. He was 83.

John Surtees.  [Photo by Sutton Images]

John Surtees. [Photo by Sutton Images]

Before his stint in formula one, Surtees won the world motorcycle championship in 1956-58 and repeated the feat in 1960. The Englishman’s career not only in formula one was with Ferrari, but with Lotus, Cooper, Lola, Honda and even BRM, before concluding his career with his own team in 1972. Despite he won one world championship, Surtees only won six grand prix races and even competed in the 24 Hours of Lemans for Ferrari, until he was pulled out of the race in 1966, due to political differences with the team, which changed his mind about the Prancing Horse.

Recently, Surtees set up his own foundation, The Henry Surtees Foundation, which is dedicated to his son who was killed by a loose tire at a Formula two race in 2009 at Brands Hatch in England.

In a statement on the foundation’s Facebook page, the family in a statement wrote: “John was a loving husband, father, brother and friend. He was also one of the true greats of motorsport and continued to work tirelessly up until recently with The Henry Surtees Foundation and Buckmore Park Kart Circuit. 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.”

His wife Jane and their two daughters, Lenora and Edwina, were at his side when he passed away peacefully following a short hospital visit.

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Mark Gero has written formula one racing stories since 2002 on the Internet for such sites as Motorsport.com, Racing Information Service News and for a brief time at the Munich Eye newspaper in Munich, Germany along with Autoweek online. Mark also has a diploma in journalism from the London School of Journalism in London, England and in addition a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Ashford University in Clinton, Iowa.