Former Top Gear presenter Sue Baker has died at the age of 67 after a battle with motor neurone disease.
The family of the journalist confirmed the sad news in a statement on Monday. It read: “It is with very great sadness, that we share the news of Sue’s passing.
“A doting mother to Ian and Hannah, a loving grandmother to Tom and George, a wonderful mother-in-law to Lucy.
“She passed at home this morning with family around her.”
They went on to describe her as a “talented and prolific writer, a charismatic TV presenter, and a passionate animal lover”.
Speaking of her life and career, they added: “[She] did it all with such grace that she was admired and respected by all who knew her. We know she meant so much to so many.
“Thank you to everyone who has supported her over the last few years as she battled with MND.”
Sue joined the show in series 4 in 1980 and was an integral figure for 11 years before finally moving aside for Jeremy Clarkson. She was seen as a trail blazer for woman in motoring.
In her line of work, Sue set up and ran the Motor Racing News Service and also became the Observer’s motoring editor in 1982. She eventually left the role in 1995.
Following the news of her passing, tributes poured in on social media. The Guild of Motoring Writers took to Twitter to share their sadness, writing: “We are deeply saddened to learn our vice-president and former chair, @carscribe Sue Baker, passed away this morning following a long illness. Sue was a pioneer for women in automotive journalism and a former presenter of @BBC_TopGear.”
Her friend, Giles Chapman, also penned: “I must echo others on here today in paying tribute to Sue Baker @carscribe who sadly died today. Proper old school journo yet always kind and generous to colleagues, especially newcomers. A rare trait indeed…
“Sue @carscribe should be hailed as a feminist icon – the first woman to become a Fleet Street pro in car journalism.”
He added that she “fought a brave and cheerful battle to the end against the horrible MND” before saying she was a great friend.
Others described her as a “pioneer”, hailing her work and sharing stories of their time in the industry with her.