Lewis Hamilton has expressed his sadness at the death of his friend Ken Block after the rally driver was killed in a snowmobile accident.
The Sheriff’s Office of Utah, where the fatal accident occurred, said that Block was “pronounced deceased at the scene from injuries sustained in the accident.”
Hamilton said he was “devastated” to hear the news of the loss of a “dear friend” and said that he will be “truly missed.”
“Today I received the news over the loss of a dear friend.” the seven-time World Champion said in a statement on his social media channels.
“I’m devastated to hear of Ken Block’s passing. He was such an amazing person, always lived life to the fullest. I remember our first time working together and how positive he was. So much talent behind the wheel.
“Years ago we had an amazing time heli skiing and snowboarding in Canada. We held so much respect for one another. He will truly be missed and my thoughts and prayers go to his beautiful family. Gone too soon. Rest in peace Ken.”
Block made 24 appearances in the World Rally Championship and won prolifically in Rally America and the Global RallyCross Championship.
He won the 2005 Rally America Rookie of the Year award at the end of his first season of competition. He also won three silver and two bronze X Games medals in his career.
Block was also a well known online figure having appeared on programmes such as the BBC’s Top Gear and was one of the main characters in the Colin McRae DiRT 2 video game.
FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem expressed his shock with a post on social media: “I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of my friend Ken Block. An inspiration for us all and a true gentleman of our sport.
“The FIA’s thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this difficult time. RIP Ken Block.”
2009 Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button posted: “In shock at the passing of Ken Block.
“Such a talent that did so much for our sport. He was a true visionary with his own unique style and infectious smile.
“Our sport lost one of the best today but more importantly a great man. Sending love and hugs to the Block family.”
Alpine driver Esteban Ocon also paid tribute: “We lost a legend of our sport today. Thank you Ken for sharing racing passion the way you did.”