German racing driver Sabine Schmitz, who was also a presenter on the popular BBC program Top Gear, has died at the age of 51. Sabine, who was widely known as the ‘Queen of the Nürburgring’ (Nürburgring is a well-known racecourse in Germany), lost her three-year battle with cancer this week, The Sun reports.
The German circuit was one of the first to pay tribute, with organisers writing on Twitter: “The Nürburgring has lost its most famous female racing driver. Sabine Schmitz passed away far too early after a long illness. We will miss her and her cheerful nature. Rest in peace Sabine!”
The Nürburgring has lost its most famous female racing driver.
Sabine Schmitz passed away far too early after a long illness. We will miss her and her cheerful nature. Rest in peace Sabine! pic.twitter.com/MFKNNFOSDU
— Nürburgring (@nuerburgring) March 17, 2021
Formula One’s official Twitter page also shared a touching message, writing: “Pioneer, champion, Queen of the Nurburgring. Sabine Schmitz was a unique, much-loved and cherished member of our sport’s family, and a force of nature for inspiring a new generation of motorsport enthusiasts. Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this sad time.”
Fellow Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson also paid tribute, tweeting: “Terrible news about Sabine Schmitz. Such a sunny person and so full of beans.”
As did Clarkson’s former Top Gear co-host Richard Hammond, who wrote: “Very sad to hear of the passing of Sabine Schmitz, a proper driving legend who’ll be sadly missed by many. The Ring has lost its Queen. RIP.”
Sabine made many appearances on Top Gear before she was elected as a full-time presenter from 2016.
The former racing car driver had documented her battle with cancer since she was first diagnosed in 2017. Despite living with the debilitating condition since then, Sabine didn’t tell the public about her diagnosis until July 2020. She announced the sad news via Facebook at the time writing: “Since the end of 2017, I have been fighting an extremely persistent cancer. [It’s] got a little better — but now [its] come back full force. Now I have to draw all the strength and registers to powerfully overcome the next therapies … hoping that something will happen.”
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