Sabine Schmitz Dead: Matt LeBlanc Posts Heartfelt Tribute to 'Top Gear' Co-Star

German racing driver Sabine Schmitz died Tuesday at the age of 51 after previously revealing her cancer diagnosis. The "Queen of the Nürburgring" was a pioneer in the sport and often served as a regular guest on Top Gear. Following the news of her death, former host Matt LeBlanc posted a heartfelt tribute on social media.

The former Top Gear host posted a photo on Instagram that showed him and Schmitz standing together with their thumbs in the air. They had massive smiles on their faces, likely due to the Porsche sitting behind them. "Taken far too soon. She shined so bright and I will always remember her smile. RIP my friend," LeBlanc wrote in the caption of his Instagram post.

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LeBlanc worked with Schmitz for multiple years after the BBC rebooted Top Gear. He was a presenter for Seasons 23-26, starting as a co-presenter with radio host Chris Evans, Schmitz, Rory Reid, Eddie Jordan, and Chris Harris. Once Evans departed the series after one season, LeBlanc took over in the main host role and continued to work with Reid, Harris and Schmitz.

Several members of the Top Gear family posted tributes to Schmitz after Frikadelli Racing confirmed her death. Former Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson posted an old photo of himself and Schmitz on Instagram, writing: "Such a sad day. Sabine was a wonderful happy person. Quick as hell too."

"Dear Sabine. I shed a tear when I heard," Reid wrote in tribute. "But I smiled when I remembered the good times. I spoke to you just a couple of weeks ago. The last thing you told me was that you still had a strong fight ahead of you, but maybe there was some hope. I told you you'd win. Because you always bloody win. Here's to all the fun we had.

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"Thanks for teaching me to ride a horse, pushing me to be a better driver, welcoming me into your home, for scaring the s— out of me with Adolf the rooster and your crazy pig," Reid continued. "For sneaking Jagermeisters into my dressing room while I did the ironing. And for always making me smile."

Schmitz grew up close to the iconic Nürburgring circuit in western Germany, one of the most famous tracks in all of motorsports. In 1996, she made history by becoming the first woman to win the 24-hour race while driving a BMW. She repeated the feat the following year and continued to build her legend.