Sue Baker, one of the original Top Gear presenters, died at the age of 75 after a battle with motor neurone disease, with fans praising her for ‘blazing a trail’ for women in racing.
Baker, who joined the BBC series in 1980 when it was still in its original format, died on Monday surrounded by her family, according to her spokesman.
She appeared in 22 episodes of the show beginning in 1980, when it was primarily focused on reviewing new cars and providing road safety and consumer advice. Jeremy Clarkson eventually took over her role.
Her spokesman said Baker, a mother of two with two grandchildren, ‘died at home with family around her’ and described her as a ‘talented and prolific writer, a charismatic TV presenter and a passionate animal lover’.
Meanwhile, a family statement read: ‘It is with great sadness, that we share the news of Sue’s passing. A doting mother to Ian and Hannah, a loving grandmother to Tom and George, and a wonderful mother-in-law to Lucy. She passed at home this morning with family around her.
‘She was a talented and prolific writer, a charismatic TV presenter, and a passionate animal lover. She had a life and career that many would envy, but did it all with such grace that she was admired and respected by all who knew her.
‘We know she meant so much to so many. Thank you to everyone who has supported her over the last few years as she battled with MND.’
Baker continued her career as a motoring journalist after leaving Top Gear in 1991.
She founded and ran the Motor Racing News Service out of Brands Hatch in Kent, and she was the Observer’s motoring editor for 13 years before leaving in 1999. She has also worked as a freelancer for Saga magazine.