NASCAR driver John Andretti, a member of one of the largest racing families in the world, died on Thursday after a three-year battle with colon cancer, his team announced. He was 56 years old. His racing career spanned 17 years and hs also competed in IndyCar and Champ Car.
"John was a loving husband and father, a devoted son and a trusted cousin," Andretti Autosport said in a statement. "He was a philanthropist, an advocate for the sport, a dedicated teammate, a driven competitor and most importantly a dear friend."
The statement continued: "We will forever carry with us John's genuine spirit of helping others first and himself second. Our prayers today are with Nancy, Jarett, Olivia, and Amelia, with our entire family, and with fans worldwide."
A number of Twitter users showed their support for the Andretti family.
"So very sorry to read this news," one fan wrote. "John was always gracious with fans like me and always had time to talk, sign an autograph or take a photo. Total class.
"A fighter until the end, John Andretti never gave up hope that he would beat cancer and come out an even stronger person," another fan wrote. "Thanks to John and his public conversations about prostrate cancer, many other individuals have taken up the fight to defeat this ugly disease. R.I.P. John."
"No matter how old you are, it will always hurt to lose a child," another Twitter user added. "Prayers to Aldo Andretti. Aldo, your son was one of my racing heroes. You taught him to appreciate his fans, he loved his fans, and he was very brave during his fight for his life. God Bless You."
Andretti was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer back in 2017. At that time told the Indianapolis Star he was going to fight until the end.
"I'm an Andretti," he said. "I already beat the age I should have lived to. Growing up when you're a little bit wild in a race car, I think everybody in our family's always heard this: 'You're not going to live to see 20.' Then it was, 'You're not going to live see 25, then 30.' But here I am. Still going. Our family's already been through plenty of trials, and we're still here. To get taken down by this, well, I'm going to go out giving it the strongest fight I can give it."