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The owner and co-founder of Red Bull, Dietrich Mateschitz, has died at the age of 78 it has been confirmed.
The Austrian businessman passed away following a long illness. The news was announced shortly before qualifying at the United States Grand Prix in Austin and has already led to a wave of tributes.
Emotional Red Bull team principal Christian Horner told Sky Sports: “It’s very, very sad. He was a great man, few of a kind. What he’s achieved, what he’s done for so many people around the world in different sports, is second to none.
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"So many of us have to be so grateful to him for the opportunities he’s provided, the vision he had, the strength of character and never being afraid to follow your dreams. That’s what he did here in Formula 1, proving you can make a difference.
"So many people in this pitlane owe him so much. As he would have wanted, we now head into this qualifying session. He was passionate about Formula 1, passionate about the team. We'll do our best for him today and in the race."
Sky Sports pundit and former F1 racer Martin Brundle said: “He was a wonderful man for motorsport. He’s been incredibly good and incredibly generous to motorsport. Motorsport’s been good to Red Bull brand as well. He’s been unwell for some time and, very sadly, we’ve had confirmation.
“He was a lovely man. A very private man. You’ll find hardly any interviews with him anywhere, certainly not in Formula 1. He never wanted to be in the spotlight, he always wanted to be behind the scenes. But wow, didn’t he achieve a lot in his life."
Brundle's Sky Sports colleague Karun Chandhok said: "Very sad to hear about the passing of Dietrich Mateschitz. A huge supporter and investor in the world of motorsport but always in a quiet and understated manner, away from the limelight. My condolences to the Mateschitz family and everyone at Red Bull."
Mateschitz co-founded the energy drink in 1987 and has been heavily involved in the marketing of extreme sports and motorsport. Having been a team sponsor, Red Bull took over the struggling Jaguar F1 team and turned it into one of the top teams in the sport.
He also took over the Italian Minardi team, rebranding it as Toro Rosso (now AlphaTauri).
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