F1: Jenson Button sends Twitter tribute to 'Papa Smurf' after the death of his father John

The 70-year-old suffered a suspected heart attack on Sunday and the McLaren star has posted an emotional tribute to his late father, in which he thanked everyone for their support

2009 Formula One world champion Jenson Button has taken to Twitter to express his sadness at the passing of his father, John, and to thank those who sent their message of condolences to the Button family.

Button suffered a suspected heart attack on Sunday while at his home on the French Riviera, and a statement released by the driver’s agent confirmed that he was found dead by a friend. He was 70 years old.

 A regular face in the F1 paddock since Jenson’s debut in 2000, John will be fondly remembered as a driving force behind Button’s successful 2009 season with Brawn GP. Taking to his personal Twitter account, the 33-year-old said it was “nice to see he touched so many people”, and that he will “forever be in my heart”.

“Thank you all for your lovely messages about my Dad, it's so nice to see he touched so many people...” Button wrote.

“He was such a big part of my life I'm going to miss him so so much...

“Papa you cannot believe how very proud I feel to be able to call you my Dad. I love you Papa Smurf, you'll forever be in my heart.

“Rest in Peace with the Angels. Your son XXXX.”

Button posted an emotional tribute to his late father John on Twitter Button posted an emotional tribute to his late father John on Twitter  

The statement releases on Monday read: “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 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.”

Button is due to attend the first test session of the new season at the Jerez track in Spain at the end of the month, where he will get to grips with the new McLaren MP4-29 for the first time. He will also come head-to-head with his new teammate Kevin Magnussen, with the youngster replacing Sergio Perez for the 2014 campaign.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935