F1 legend WILSON FITTIPALDI dies after choking on piece of meat at dinner table

Friday, February 23, 2024
 – Wilson Fittipaldi Jr, 80, has died after he was hospitalised following a choking incident while eating his Christmas dinner.

Former Formula 1 driver and team owner Fittipaldi choked on a piece of meat during the December festivities. He then suffered a cardiac arrest before being resuscitated at the hospital, but it's since been confirmed he has died from the resulting illness.

"It is with deep sorrow that we receive the news of the passing of Wilson Fittipaldi Jr," read a statement from Fabiana Ecclestone, vice-president of motorsport for FIA South America. "His departure leaves an irreparable void in the automobile scene and in the lives of those who had the privilege of knowing him.

"His dedication and efforts were fundamental in consolidating the country as an important protagonist on the international racing scene. In this moment of mourning, we express our most sincere condolences to the family, friends and admirers of Wilson Fittipaldi Jr."

The Brazilian made 35 starts in F1 between 1972 and 1975, during which time he founded the only Brazilian F1 team, Fittipaldi-Copersucar.

His F1 career highlights include a fifth-place finish at the German Grand Prix and a run to sixth at the Argentinian Grand Prix, both while on the books at Brabham in 1973.

Fittipaldi - who was born on Christmas Day 1943 - followed his dad, Wilson Sr, into motorsport and drove a variety of cars as a youth.

Younger brother Emerson was the first to find his way to F1 with Lotus in 1969 before his older sibling joined him in Europe the following year.

Tributes to the late owner after confirmation of Fittipaldi's death emerged, with one F1 account dubbing it "sad, sad news."

Many sent their condolences to the Fittipaldi family, and one fan hailed the South American as "one of the great names in our sport."

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