The President of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) made the announcement: Al Unser Sr., a legendary race car driver who won hearts with his thrilling skills has passed away at the age of 82 in his home in Chama, New Mexico.

Al Unser Sr. holds the historic record to win the Indianapolis 500 championship four times, along with only three others racers to ever do so. The legendary racer was battling cancer for the past 17 years and passed away due to complications fuelled by old age.

“He will be remembered as one of the best to ever race at Indianapolis and we will all miss his smile, sense of humor, and his warm, approachable personality,” said IMS President J. Douglas Boles, adding how Al Unser Sr. also held the record for most laps led in the championship.

IMS itself released a statement for the legend saying, “An icon and hero to racing fans around the world. A history-making and beloved member of the #IMS family. 4-time #Indy500 winner Al Unser has passed away at age 82. Godspeed, racer.”

His son also seemed to release a public statement over the passing on Twitter saying, “My heart is so saddened. My father passed away last night. He was a great man and even a Greater Father. Rest In Peace Dad!♥️🙏”

Al Unser Sr.‘s son Al Unser Jr., who himself is a car racer, has won the Indianapolis 500 championship twice. This makes them the only father and son duo in history to ever do so. That was not the extent of the family’s love for speed car racing, as Al Unser Sr.‘s brother Bobby Unser was also a race car driver, and thrice Indianapolis 500 winner, also making them the only brothers in history to do so.

Sr.‘s brother Bobby Unser was also a race car driver

The retired Al Unser Sr. had 39 wins and season championships to his name. He started his career in 1957 and competed in his first-ever Indy 500 in 1965. A fellow motorsports racing driver, Mario Andretti said on ESPN’s SportsCentury series, “Al Unser Sr. was one of the smartest drivers I’ve ever raced against. And I often said I wish I could’ve had some of his patience. I know it would have worked for me any time.”

Al Unser Sr. was born in Albuquerque in 1939, he died in his home in Chama, New Mexico, with his wife Susan by his side.