[ABC/AAP] V8 Supercar driver Jason Richards has died after a 14-month battle with cancer.
V8 Supercar officials and Holden confirmed the 35-year-old from New Zealand died on Thursday night at his home in Melbourne.
He had been fighting a rare and aggressive form of cancer called adrenocortical carcinoma.
Richards was a three-time Bathurst 1000 runner-up, and won three New Zealand touring car championships prior to moving into the Australian V8 series in 2001.
He drove successfully for a variety of Holden teams in the V8 series – most recently Albury-based Brad Jones Racing.
“In the competitive world of V8 Supercars Jason was a rare breed – a driver that could tread the fine line between rivalry and friendship,” Brad Jones Racing said in a statement.
“He was never secretive, selfish or bad-tempered and had endless enthusiasm and energy for his job and team.
“The history books will not do him justice. Given the right equipment JR was easily a front-runner but chose team loyalty over personal gain, determined to work with his crew to reach the front of the grid together.
“Through the highs and lows of racing, JR’s uplifting presence and casual, self-effacing wit were unwavering and his effect he had on team morale is irreplaceable.
“He will forever be a member of the Jones family and this is a tragic day in the team’s history.”
Richards is survived by his wife Charlotte and children Sienna and Olivia.
“Jason’s family is appreciative of the many thousands of people who have offered their love and support during his battle with illness over the past 14 months,” Richards’ family said in a statement issued on Friday.
V8 Supercars said a memorial service to honour Richards and his career would be held at Sandown Raceway in Melbourne in the next few weeks.