London (AFP) -
Max Mosley, the former president of motorsport's world governing body the FIA, has died aged 81, ex-Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone announced on Monday.
Mosley became FIA president in 1993 after serving in previous administrative roles in the sport, including within Formula One.
The former racing driver, who had been suffering from cancer, served three terms as president before standing down in 2009.
Ecclestone told the PA news agency: 'Max was like family to me. We were like brothers. I am pleased in a way because he suffered for too long.'
Mosley was the son of 1930s British fascist leader Oswald Mosley.
In 2008 he won a privacy case against the now-defunct News of the World newspaper after it printed photographs and published video of his involvement in a sadomasochistic sex session.
It was reported by the newspaper as a 'sick Nazi orgy' but the judge found no evidence of Nazi themes in his judgement.
He also said there was no public interest defence in the clandestine recording of the session.
Mosley experienced a family tragedy in 2009 when his son Alexander died aged 39. The coroner ruled Alexander's death was due to non-dependent drug abuse.
Mosley senior studied at Oxford University, where he read physics, but later trained as a lawyer and became a barrister whose specialism was patent and trademark law.
His love of motor racing began in his youth and he was involved in Formula 2 for Brabham and Lotus before retiring in 1969.
He founded a car manufacturing company, March Engineering, and oversaw its legal and commercial affairs from 1969 to 1977.
He became president of FISA, F1's governing body at the time, in 1991 and two years later took over unopposed at the FIA.
He oversaw the safety reforms in the sport that followed the death of Ayrton Senna at the San Marino Grand Prix in 1994.
Jean Todt replaced Mosley as FIA president in 2009. Since then, Mosley had campaigned for tougher regulation of the press.
The Williams Racing team were one of the first to pay tribute, tweeting from their official account: 'We are saddened to learn of the passing of former FIA president, Max Mosley.
'Our condolences go out to his family and friends at this difficult time.'