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F1 race director Whiting dies aged 66

Omnisport logo Omnisport 14/03/2019 Dejan Kalinic
Charlie Whiting wearing a white shirt © Getty Images Charlie Whiting

Long-serving Formula One race director Charlie Whiting died suddenly at the age of 66 on Thursday.

Just days before the start of the 2019 F1 season in Melbourne, Whiting suffered a pulmonary embolism, the FIA said in a statement.

Whiting became race director in 1997, nine years after first joining the federation.

FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting during the 2014 Monaco Grand Prix at the Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco.   (Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images) © PA Images FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting during the 2014 Monaco Grand Prix at the Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images) "It is with immense sadness that I learned of Charlie's sudden passing," FIA president Jean Todt said in a statement.

"I have known Charlie Whiting for many years and he has been a great race director, a central and inimitable figure in Formula One who embodied the ethics and spirit of this fantastic sport.

"Formula One has lost a faithful friend and a charismatic ambassador in Charlie.

"All my thoughts, those of the FIA and entire motorsport community go out to his family, friends, and all Formula One lovers."

Whiting first started in F1 at the Hesketh team in 1977, before working at Brabham during the 1980s.

Gallery: People We lost in 2019 (Photo Services)

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