Veteran sports car driver Emilio Di Guida has passed away, according to SportsCar365.com's John Dagys.
Per the report, the 50-year-old Venezuelan driver was jogging near his home in Doral, Fla., when he suffered an apparent heart attack. He died on Saturday.
Participating in the GRAND-AM Rolex Series with Sebastien Bourdais for 8Star Motorsports last year, Di Guida made six starts and captured top-five finishes at Laguna Seca and Lime Rock Park.
8Star Motorsports paid tribute to its veteran driver with a photo that captures his positive, infectious attitude:
Di Guida had many more accomplishments throughout his wonderful career.
After getting his start in national racing in his home country of Venezuela, he competed in the American Le Mans Series—where he earned two GTC victories for TRG inside a Porsche 911 GT3 in 2012—and Rolex Sports Car Series.
Before that, he captured titles in the Chrysler Neon Cup, Fiat Palio Cup, Mustang Cup, Chevrolet Corse and Aveo Cups.
Mazda MX-5 Cup driver Beth Chryst perhaps best summed up Di Guida's driving career when she offered her condolences, calling him an "amazing driver":
Of course, his impact wasn't solely made inside of a car.
With his relentless positive attitude, Di Guida seemed to touch those around him in other ways, as Dagys and fellow sports car driver Mike Hedlund pointed out:
Rest in peace @emiliodiguida -- you'll be missed. Such a friendly guy. :(— Mike Hedlund (@mike_hedlund) March 2, 2014
This is extremely sad news and a sobering day in the sport. Di Guida will be sorely missed not only by those who were affected by him on a day-to-day basis, but also those who were lucky enough to witness him in a driver's seat.