Can't say it's a shock he spent Christmas in hospital after being flown home, he's not been on the pit wall all year, it's more like inevitable rather than a shock, but it doesn't make it any better. It's a big loss to the sport.
I am too young to remember him racing and have lost interest in F1 in recent years but when I did watch, I always enjoyed his insights and his ability to tell it exactly as he saw it without PR nonsense.
A truely inspirational character who overcame serious injuries and never gave in.
Niki won the first motor race I ever watched - the 1982 British Grand Prix. I can't say I was ever a fan because my heart went irretrievably to a certain Hampshireman driving the #35 Toleman that particular day, but motor racing will certainly be poorer for his loss.
No one can deny that Niki was one of the sport's true champions, and what I really loved about him was his straight talking style. He certainly didn't mince his words, neither when he was racing, nor later when working for Mercedes. And for anyone who loves the sport, his books are certainly worth reading.