Barry Sheene, RIP

British racing legend Barry Sheene, two time 500cc GP champion, lost his battle with cancer Monday. Godspeed, Barry.

Here are a couple news reports:

LONDON, England -- The motorcycling world has been paying tribute to former world champion Barry Sheen, who has died from cancer aged 52.

The Briton, who died on Monday in Queensland's Gold Coast, where he had settled after retiring, won the world 500cc title in 1976 and 1977 when his flamboyant lifestyle made him a household name.

"He packed more into his 52 years than most people put into 100 years," four-times World Superbike champion Carl Fogarty told the BBC.

"That lifestyle -- the playboy, the model wife, the big, big crashes. He was famous for many different reasons.

"I remember a big crash at Silverstone and seeing the television news showing x-rays of bolts and screws in his body. He was an amazing guy."

Sheene had two serious accidents in his racing career, first in 1975 at Daytona, Florida, when he broke his thigh, wrist, forearm and collarbone.

He then broke both legs during a crash at Silverstone -- but was back on a bike six weeks later, his bones held together by metal pins.

Sheene, who leaves his wife, Stephanie, daughter Sidonie, 18, and son Freddie, 14, will have a private funeral in Queensland later this week.

Tim Webster, who worked with Sheene as a commentator in Australia, said he was a "champion fella who will be sadly missed."

Another commentator, Murray Walker, told London station LBC: "I am a very sad man today because Barry Sheene was not only one of the most brilliant motor racing cyclists who has ever lived, but he was a lovely man."

Sheene was told he had throat and stomach cancer last July.


10 March 2003

Former world motorcycling champion Barry Sheene has died after a long battle against cancer.

He won the World Motorcycle Championships twice in the 1970s and became famous for overcoming his numerous crashes on the track.

Sheene, aged 52, who was awarded the MBE in 1978, had cancer of the throat and stomach.

He was regarded as almost indestructible on the track, and at one stage in his career he had metal plates in both knees, 28 screws in his legs and his left wrist after two serious crashes.

He began racing motorbikes at the age of five and claimed the world title in 1976 and 1977.

In 1981, he became the last British racer to win a 500cc GP and he remains the last rider from the home nations to win the world title. He returned to the sport in the 1990s in his 40s.

Sheene faced the news he had cancer with the same bravery he accepted the scrapes of motorcycle racing, opting for alternative treatment rather than the pain and discomfort of chemotherapy.

One of the most enduring sex symbols of the 1970s, he was also a marketable commodity and advertised Brut after-shave.

He died in hospital on Queensland's Gold Coast in Australia. Sheene leaves a wife, Stephanie, a daughter Sidonie, aged 18, and a son Freddie, 14.
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