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Block made 25 appearances in the FIA World Rally Championship, scoring a career-best seventh on his debut on Rally México in 2007. But he was also a winner in the FIA European Rallycross Championship and podium finisher in the FIA World Rallycross Championship.

The American, who was 55 and married with three children, was perhaps best known for his series of online videos. They featured Block performing driving stunts and demos at myriad locations around the world and helped to make him an internet sensation, as well as building a huge global fanbase.

Block had initially pursued a career in architecture but his passion for adventure sports set him on a different path, which included selling clothing items to snowboard shops and co-founding the DC Shoes brand.

He had a passion and enthusiasm for rallying and used his success in business to start competing in his native United States, before his global ambitions took hold.

FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem posting on social media, said: “I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of my friend Ken Block. An inspiration for us all and a true gentleman of our sport. The FIA’s thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this difficult time. Rest in peace.”

The President added: “Ken Block was an outstanding driver, entertainer and entrepreneur, but most of all he was a kind, well-mannered, humble family man who was solely focused on doing what was best for the sport. He set an example for the sports stars of today. We have lost a truly talented individual.”

A tweet from Block’s Hoonigan Racing Division company read: “Ken was a visionary, a pioneer and an icon. And, most importantly, a father and husband. He will be incredibly missed.”

M-Sport, which guided Block during his WRC career, posted: “We’re shocked to hear of Ken Block’s sudden passing and our immediate thoughts are with his family and friends. Ken’s work and passion for the sport touched the imagination of millions around the world. He was a creative driving force that helped to redefine our sport.”

Eight-time FIA World Rally champion Sébastien Ogier said: “He knew like no other how to combine motorsport and a big show. He lived his life to the fullest and I’ll never forget his smile and laugh. Sending my thoughts and support to his family and friends.”

Former Subaru WRC driver Chris Atkinson described him as “one of the most intelligent, driven and motivated individuals I have ever met”, while multiple WRC event winner Mikko Hirvonen said Block was “a true legend and such an inspiration for all of us”.

Retired WRC driver Armin Schwarz described him as “one of our best motor sport ambassadors”, while Hyundai WRC star Thierry Neuville called him “a passionate racer and real pioneer that inspired so many of us”.

Hayden Paddon, who competed against Block in the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Cup, said Block had passed “way too soon for someone who has done so much for our sport”.

Jenson Button, the winner of the 2009 FIA Formula One World Championship, echoed Paddon’s sentiments, calling him “a talent that did so much for our sport”.

FIASport1SportFIA00Tuesday, January 3, 2023 – 1:54pmTuesday, January 3, 2023 – 1:54pm