The helicopter’s crash near his home in Lanark, Scotland caused the death of four people: 39-year-old champion along with his five-year-old son Johnny and six-year-old friend of McRae’s son and family friend Graeme Duncan aged 37.
Speaking on behalf of the whole family, Colin’s father, Jim McRae, said today:
“It is with much sadness and regret that we have to make this statement. It is unbelievable that Colin and Johnny’s lives have been taken so prematurely and in such a tragic manner.
Colin was a great son, a loving husband to Alison and a fantastic father to Johnny and his big sister Hollie. Johnny was a great wee guy, spending every spare minute with his dad, and even at this early stage it looked like he had the potential to carry on the family dynasty.
Our thoughts are also very much with the families of Ben Porcelli and Graeme Duncan. Ben was a great buddy of Johnny’s and they had always spent a lot of time together both in and out of school. Graeme, who now resides in France, had been a close friend of Colin’s since their schooldays and was back in Lanark on holiday.
We are thankful for the overwhelming number of messages of support we have received from all around the world. Colin was very much an inspiration and role model to motorsport fans the world over. As you can imagine this is a very difficult time for the family and we would ask that our privacy be respected and we be allowed to grieve in private.” (Colin McRae web page)
“He was a great character outside the car and a tremendous driver inside the car,” his former co-driver Nicky Grist told. “He had so much commitment and oozed talent. f it had an engine and wheels he would get in it and drive it to the maximum. When it came to cars Colin had that little something extra special.”
David Richards, said McRae was a “legend” of the sport. “He was competitive and extreme in everything he did but also so much fun,” he told reporters at the weekend. Itâ€™s ironic that he walked away from so many accidents only for this to happen.”
Formula One driver David Coulthard said McRae was “blindingly quick” in a car while another Scottish motor racing great, Jackie Stewart, said: “Itâ€™s a sad loss for Scotland, a real hero and an immensely popular friend.”
“He was always my favourite driver, I followed him a lot and went to see him in Monte Carlo and San Remo… everyone is very sad, he was the most spectacular and drove at 100 percent,” Valentino Rossi.
Mcrae became the first British world rally champion in 1995 while driving for the Subaru team. McRae was also runner-up in a Subaru in 1996 and 1997 and narrowly missed the title for Ford in 2001. He won 25 times in the World Rally Championship from 146 starts and picked up 477 individual stage victories.
The Times is reporting that former World Rally Champion Colin McRae has died after the helicopter he was piloting crashed into the ground near his home in Strathclyde. Also on board was his five year-old son, an unnamed adult male and child. According to reports, there were no survivors.
People close to McRae assert that he was as adept at piloting a helicopter as he was behind the wheel.
More is available from the Times Online here. We’ll update this post as more information is available.