Formula One Race Director Charlie Whiting has died from a pulmonary embolism three days before the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
FIA President Jean Todt said he was shocked by the sudden death of the long-time F1 official and described Whiting "a great Race Director, a central and inimitable figure in Formula One who embodied the ethics and spirit of this fantastic sport."
"Formula One has lost a faithful friend and a charismatic ambassador in Charlie," Todt said in a statement.
The Red Bull Racing team said Formula One had "lost one of its most loyal and hard-working ambassadors."
"Charlie has played a key role in this sport and has been the referee and voice of reason as Race Director for many years.