Sports

Race car driver John Andretti dies after cancer battle

Race car driver John Andretti dies after cancer battle

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH/CNN) — Race car driver John Andretti has died after a battle with cancer, his team said in a tweet Thursday.

The 56-year-old native of Bethlehem, Penn., had disclosed in April 2017 that he was battling colon cancer. He was deemed free of cancer later in 2017, but relapsed in May 2018. He went through chemotherapy in January 2019, but the cancer again relapsed in March.

While battling cancer, he started the hashtag #CheckIt4Andretti to encourage people to get colonoscopies to prevent and detect colon cancer.

Andretti raced 12 times at the Indy 500 through 2011, and in 1994 he raced there and in a NASCAR event that night. He was the first driver to pull off the feat.

He also ran in 15 Daytona 500 races through 2010.

Andretti raced all types of cars, but spent the most time in NASCAR’s top series, running 393 races. He won twice, in the 1997 summer race at Daytona International Speedway and in 1999 at Martinsville, Virginia, winning for Petty Enterprises.

The team tweet said, “John was a loving husband and father, a devoted son and a trusted cousin. He was a philanthropist, an advocate for the sport, a dedicated teammate, a driven competitor and most importantly a dear friend.

“Through Race4Riley, John spent decades dedicating his time and fundraising attention to Riley Hospital for Children. When first diagnosed with colon cancer in 2017, John vowed to fight back and use his voice to help spread the word of prevention and early detection. He fought hard and stole back days the disease vowed to take away. He helped countless others under proper screening, and in doing so, saved lives.

“We will forever carry with us John’s genuine spirit of helping others first and himself second. Our prayers today are with Nancy, Jarrett, Olvia and Amelia, with our entire family, and with fan worldwide. We urge all our followers to, please, #CheckIt4Andretti.”

Andretti’s father is Aldo Andretti, the twin brother of 1969 Indianapolis 500 winner Mario Andretti. Mario Andretti was the only driver to win NASCAR’s Daytona 500, the Formula One driver’s championship and the Indy 500 during his career.

Penske Entertainment Corp. President and CEO Mark Miles issued the following statement on behalf of INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, about John Andretti after his passing:

“John Andretti’s skills behind the wheel of any kind of race car were admired by his millions of fans around the world, and he always returned that loyalty and kindness to become one of the most popular drivers of his generation. But John’s true mission was helping others, whether through his countless hours of charity work, especially with Riley Children’s Hospital here in Indianapolis, or by the colon screening campaign he started in April 2017 after he was diagnosed with cancer. John’s positive attitude and selflessness throughout his brave fight inspired all of us and will be a legacy that will continue forever. We extend our deepest condolences to his wife, Nancy, their three children and the entire Andretti family.”

MORE SPORTS STORIES

Florida woman accused of zipping her boyfriend in suitcase for hours until he died

(CNN) — Sarah Boone called 911 and said her boyfriend got trapped in a suitcase and died during a game of hide-and-seek, according to court records.

The Florida couple had been drinking Chardonnay and doing puzzles Sunday night in their Winter Park apartment, Boone told authorities, when they thought “it would be funny” to hop in a suitcase as a part of the game, according to an arrest affidavit from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

Boone, 42, zipped up Jorge Torres Jr. in the blue suitcase containing a few items for donating. Two of his fingers stuck out, so she assumed he could open it, according to the affidavit.

She went upstairs to bed and thought he’d get himself out of the suitcase and join her, only to wake up Monday and find him still in it and not breathing, the affidavit says.

Boone was arrested Tuesday and faces a second-degree murder charge after investigators determined videos on her phone contradicted her story.

The phone footage shows her mocking her boyfriend as she filmed his cries for help, and telling him it was his punishment for cheating, according to the arrest affidavit.

“I can’t f**king breathe, seriously,” her boyfriend said in the phone video. “That’s on you. Oh, that’s what I feel like when you cheat on me,” she responds.

The video shows the victim pushing on the suitcase and trying to get out, the affidavit says. When police showed the video to Boone, she pushed it away halfway through and said she didn’t want to watch it, the affidavit says.

Police searched her iPhone after she signed a waiver and gave verbal and written consent. CNN has reached out to her public defender.

Boone denied intentionally leaving Torres in the suitcase, according to the affidavit.

Boone called police Monday afternoon and said she woke up hours earlier but assumed her boyfriend was on his computer in another room. When she could not find him, she suddenly realized he was still in the suitcase.

“Sarah unzipped the suitcase and found Jorge unresponsive and not breathing,” the affidavit says. “Sarah zipped Jorge in the suitcase to where he could not get out. Jorge begged Sarah repeatedly telling her he could not breathe and Sarah left him in the suitcase … and demonstrated a depraved mind without regard for Jorge’s life.”

When police arrived at the scene, they found the victim near the front door with a laceration on his lip and bruising around his eye.

Boone is being held without bail. No cause of death is listed on the arrest affidavit.

MORE STORIES

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK