The Formula 1 world is in mourning this week after the death of Murray Walker, who has passed away at the age of 97.
Walker did commentary with the BBC and then ITV before he retired in 2001. His death was confirmed by the British Racing Drivers’ Club in a brief statement.
“It’s with great sadness we share the news of the passing of BRDC associate member Murray Walker OBE,” the statement read. “A friend, a true motorsport legend, the nation’s favorite commentator and a contagious smile. We thank Murray for all he has done for our community. RIP our friend.”
“He was to so many of us fans of F1 the voice that epitomized the sport we love,” said Stuart Pringle, Silverstone managing director. “Knowledgeable beyond words and with a passion that occasionally got the better of him in commentary, he brought the sport and some of its greatest moments to life in a way that ensured they remained seared in our memories for ever.”
BBC Director General Tim Davie paid tribute to Walker as well, saying, “Over decades, no-one conveyed the excitement and passion of motorsport like Murray Walker. For millions, he was quite simply the voice that captured the spirit of Formula 1. Respected by drivers and fans alike, he will be hugely missed.”
Walker is survived by his wife Elizabeth, who he was married to for over sixty years. He was a World War II veteran who served in a tank during the war.
Tributes have been pouring in for Walker, including one from former British F1 driver Sir Jackie Stewart.
“He was a very special man in every respect,” Stewart said. “I was lucky enough to know him well. In fact, I spoke to him several weeks ago where he was in a home. He was the perfect gentleman, a man who had great style and great skills with the English language. As a racing driver, from my own point of view, Murray was always the best.”
“He was very good at making mistakes. He made wonderful mistakes. He so much enjoyed the realization of his error, he was such a character,” he continued. “A mistake didn’t mean anything wrong for Murray. It was something else to make a joke of. He was full of energy, he never sat to do a commentary. He stood up for the whole time.”
Former team owner and BBC F1 chief analyst Eddie Jordan spoke out as well to call Walker a “legend”.
“He was so well prepared,” Jordan added. “He was very nonchalant about it, he didn’t give that impression but he had the knowledge. When he was doing the commentary, he had every single angle covered. He was brilliant at it.”
James Allen, who succeeded Walker in the commentary box at ITV and told BBC Radio 5 Live, said that “he was just so much fun.”
“The age difference between us was 45 years or something but he was so young in his mind,” Allen said. “His career was in advertising, he was always aware of the audience. He was such a laugh. He didn’t like driving much on the continent so, all the foreign grands prix, I drove him around everywhere.”
“One of my favorite stories, I drove him to a restaurant and when we came out there was a bunch of kids outside and one of them said ‘that’s Murray Walker’s driver,” he continued. “He had a life incredibly well lived.”
This piece originally appeared in UpliftingToday.com and is used by permission.
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