Sad news from the Formula One world this Monday morning, with the news Jenson Button’s father John has died unexpectedly at age 70. According to a BBC report, via a statement issued by Jenson’s agent, the senior Button had a suspected heart attack.
The rest of the statement includes this:
“It is with great sadness and regret that I can confirm John Button passed away at his home in the South of France on Sunday.
“John’s children Jenson, Natasha, Samantha and Tanya and the rest of the family are clearly devastated and ask for their privacy to be respected during this extremely difficult time.”
A fixture in the paddock, often seen on TV broadcasts wearing his trademark pink shirt, John Button was so devoted to his son’s career and a huge part of the F1 world. The celebration between the two reached a fever pitch when Jenson captured the 2009 World Championship driving for Brawn GP.
Thoughts and tributes are already beginning to flow in after this sad news. Here’s a tribute from NBC Sports Group’s F1 pit reporter and insider Will Buxton, on his blog. Also here’s one from former FIA Chief Medical Delegate Gary Hartstein, via his blog.
Meanwhile, here are some other tweets from the F1 community, including from Button’s new McLaren-Mercedes teammate Kevin Magnussen:
My condolences to all the Button family, especially to Jenson . Very sad news. John….a great man, a friend, we will miss him.
— Fernando Alonso (@alo_oficial) January 13, 2014
— Kevin Magnussen (@KevinMagnussen) January 13, 2014
Deeply saddened about John Button’s passing, a devoted father & great guy. Our thoughts are with Jenson & his family. http://t.co/c0ReA8GpBd
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) January 13, 2014
Shocked & saddened to hear of John Button’s passing. Such a top, top man and a true gent. Want to pass on … http://t.co/0ToloAjB3U
— Marino Franchitti (@MFranchitti) January 13, 2014
We’re shocked to hear about John Button. Many of the team knew him well, he was a great personality in the paddock and will be hugely missed
— Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) January 13, 2014
— Sahara Force India (@clubforce) January 13, 2014
Our thoughts are with Jenson & the Button family after the terribly sad loss of one of the F1 paddock’s favourite characters, John Button — Marussia F1 Team (@Marussia_F1Team) January 13, 2014
We join the motorsport community in passing on our sincere condolences to @JensonButton & his family on the sad news of John’s passing. RIP.
— Caterham F1 Team (@CaterhamF1) January 13, 2014