Richard Burns, best known to gamers as the eponymous star of SCI/Eidos's critically acclaimed rally driving simulation, has died aged 34 following a two-year battle with astrocytoma, a form of brain tumour.
Burns had a long and successful career as a rally driver which took off when he won the 1990 national 205GTI challenge series. He later joined Subaru and became the youngest winner of the British Championship in 1993.
Burns then spent several years competing in the Asia Pacific Championship before teaming up with Tommi Makinen and Mitsubishi for the world championships in 1998. He was named FIA World Rally Championship runner-up in 1999 and 2000, and went on to win the title of WRC champion in 2001. SCI published Richard Burns Rally for PC, PS2 and Xbox in 2004.
In a statement, Burns' family said: "It is with very great sadness that we must announce the death of Richard Burns, the 2001 FIA World Rally Champion. Burns, who was diagnosed with an astrocytoma, a form of brain tumour, in November 2003 passed away last night Friday 25th November peacefully. His partner Zoe, family and close friends were at his bedside."
The family has requested that the media, friends and fans respect their privacy at this time. A new memorials page has been set up on RichardBurns.com.