The father of Formula One driver Jenson Button, who helped launch his son on the path to becoming a world champion, has died aged 70, it was announced Monday.
John Button, who oversaw his son's rise from kart drive to 2009 Formula One world champion, was found dead at his home in the south of France on Sunday following a suspected heart attack.
A statement released by Jenson Button's agent said: "It is with great sadness and regret that I can confirm John Button passed away at his home in the South of France on Sunday. Whilst we await confirmation, initial signs would indicate a suspected heart attack."
A close friend who was visiting John Button on Sunday was the first to discover the tragic news.
"John's children Jenson, Natasha, Samantha and Tanya and the rest of the family are clearly devastated and ask for their privacy to be respected during this extremely difficult time."
John Button, a familiar figure at Grand Prix circuits around the world, played a key role in Jenson's junior racing career.
He coached his son and helped to fund his rise through the ranks out of the proceeds of a kart engine preparation business that also supplied Anthony Hamilton, the father of 2008 world champion Lewis.