Dan Wheldon: Tributes Pour In For British IndyCar Driver Killed In Vegas
Tributes have poured in for Dan Wheldon, the IndyCar racing driver who died in Las Vegas on Sunday, as his family described him as a "true champion".
The 33-year-old two-time Indianapolis 500 winner, originally from Emberton, Olney, was killed after his vehicle was caught up in a 15-car pileup on the Nevada track.
His father Clive, speaking outside the family home in Emberton, Buckinghamshire, said: "The family would like to thank everyone for their overwhelming outpouring of sympathy.
"Daniel was born to be a racer and yesterday left us doing what he loved to do. He was a true champion and a gentleman on and off the track."
His voice wavering with emotion, he concluded his brief statement by saying: "Words cannot describe how much our family will miss him.
"He touched so many and the world is a better place because of Dan."
Formula One driver Jenson Button, who raced against Wheldon in his early career, wrote on Twitter: “Just woken up to the most horrific news. Dan Wheldon RIP... I have so many good memories of racing with Dan in the early 90's, a true fighter.”
Button’s Formula One colleague Lewis Hamilton joined the tributes, releasing a statement that read: “This is an extremely sad day. Dan was a racer I’d followed throughout my career, as I often followed in his footsteps as we climbed the motorsport ladder in the UK.
“He was an extremely talented driver. As a British guy, who not only went over to the States but who twice won the Indy500, he was an inspirational guy, and someone that every racing driver looked up to with respect and admiration.
“This is a tragic loss at such a young age. My heart goes out to his family and friends during this extremely difficult time.”
England striker Wayne Rooney tweeted: “Sad news about Dan Wheldon. RIP. News like this puts everything into perspective.”
Basketball star LeBron James added: “R.I.P to Indy Car Driver Dan Wheldon! Dies In 15-Car Crash At Las Vegas Race. You'll be missed from Sports.”
Former Formula One driver Martine Brundle tweeted: “It's so, so sad about Dan Wheldon. Deepest condolences to his wife and young children along with family and friends. This is a cruel sport.”
Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere tweeted: “RIP Dan Wheldon. Sad news!”
QPR midfield Joey Barton said: “Just heard Dan Wheldon has died in an Indy car crash in Las Vegas tonight. RIP”