Stirling Moss, widely-regarded as the greatest motor racing driver never to win the world title, died on Sunday aged 90 following a long illness and the governing body of Formula One celebrated the icon.

“It was one lap too many,” his wife Susie Moss told Britain’s Press Association on Sunday.

“He just closed his eyes.”

Tributes flooded in from the world of motorsport and beyond to the gifted and revered driver who never won the Formula One title, finishing runner-up four times and third three times.World champion Lewis Hamilton on Sunday described Stirling Moss, who has died at the age of 90, as a “racing legend” and a “comrade from a massively different time”.

Although Moss never won the Formula One world title, he was regarded as one of motor sport’s greatest drivers, with his 1950s heyday seeing racers compete in a variety of disciplines.

The Formula One Twitter handle posted a tribute video to “Mr. Motoracing” they called one of the “most famous names of F1” and and one who remains “shorthand for speed, heroism, sportsmanship and adventure.”

The 35-year-old Hamilton, a six-time world champion, became a friend of Moss despite the pair’s age difference and contrasting backgrounds.“Today we say goodbye to Sir Stirling Moss, the racing legend,” reigning champion Hamilton wrote on Instagram.

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Today we say goodbye to Sir Stirling Moss, the racing legend. I think it’s important that we celebrate his incredible life and the great man he was. Saying goodbye is never easy and can be sad but he will always be here, in our memories and will always be such a huge part of British Motorsports Heritage. I certainly will miss our conversations. To be honest, it was such a unusual pairing, our friendship. Two people from massively different times and backgrounds but we clicked and ultimately found that the love for racing we both shared made us comrades. I am truly grateful to have had these special moments with him. Sending my prayers and thoughts to his family. May he rest in peace🙏🏾

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‘Example of a racing driver’ -

Meanwhile, three-time world champion Jackie Stewart, who came into Grand Prix racing shortly after Moss’s injury-enforced retirement in the early 1960s, told the BBC: “I think he’s probably the best example of a racing driver there’s ever been.

“He walked like a racing driver, he talked like a racing driver, he behaved like a racing driver should behave.”

Jenson Button, the 2009 world champion, hailed Moss who always “drove to the max”.

Moss won 212 of the 529 races he entered across all motor sport events, with 1996 Formula One world champion Damon Hill saying that was a staggering achievement.

“He never won a world championship but he won a lot of races, something like a third of all the races he entered. It’s a ridiculous statistic, he was legendary.”

Hill, whose late father and two-time F1 world champion Graham competed against Moss, reckoned Moss’s victory in the 1955 Mille Miglia, in which he covered 1,000 miles of open Italian roads at an average speed of 97.96 mph (57.85 kph) in 10 hours, seven minutes and 48 seconds, to be “one of the all-time great performances of our sport”.

Mercedes, one of Moss’s former teams, mourned the loss of a “true icon, a legend and a gentleman”, while Ferrari called him a “formidable opponent”.

Jean Todt, president of motor sport’s governing FIA, said Moss was “a true legend in motor sport and he will remain so forever”.

(With AFP inputs)