Al Unser, the legendary race-car driver who was one of only four people to win the Indy 500 four times, has died of cancer. He was 82.
His death was announced by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as well as his son, racer Al Unser Jr.
“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!” Unser Jr. said via Twitter on Friday.
Unser hailed from a dynasty in the world of racing. His brothers Bobby and Jerry were also well known in the sport, along with their offspring, Unser Jr., Robby and Johnny. Bobby, who died earlier this year, won the Indy three times.
Unser was born in Albuquerque, N.M., with a father and two uncles who were also involved in the sport. Unser launched his racing career in 1957 at the age of 18 and continued his career until retiring in 1994.
Over the course of his career, Unser appeared on many talk shows and even portrayed himself on the comedy “Home Improvement.”
Some of the sport’s most recognizable figures paid tribute to their friend. “I feel loss & sadness at the passing of Al Unser,” Mario Andretti said via Twitter. “RIP Al Unser,” Jeff Gordon wrote on Twitter. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway organization tweeted, “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.”
In addition to Al Unser Jr., Unser is survived by his wife, Susan.