NASCAR driver John Andretti dies after battle with colon cancer

NASCAR driver John Andretti died Thursday after a long battle with colon cancer, NASCAR announced. He was 56.

His death was confirmed by the Andretti Autosport team.

FILE – In this May 18, 2017, file photo, John Andretti talks about his battle with colon cancer during a press conference at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, in Indianapolis. John Andretti has started another round of chemotherapy. On Monday, Aug. 14, 2017, the former NASCAR and IndyCar driver used Twitter to provide the latest update on his battle against colon cancer: “Same cocktail with an added twist. Only 3 months to go.” The 54-year-old Andretti made his diagnosis public in early May and has relied on social media to keep fans abreast of his condition. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

“We will forever carry with us John’s genuine spirit of helping others first and himself second,” read part of a statement from the Andretti team.

Andretti was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in 2017 and announced it had returned and spread in May 2019. He raised awareness for routine check-ups during his updates.

The son of Aldo Andretti, the twin brother of Mario Andretti, he was born into one of the country’s most accomplished racing families.

According to NASCAR, the longtime competitor in NASCAR, IndyCar and sports-car racing won twice in 393 starts in NASCAR’s top division between 1993 and 2010. Both victories came with NASCAR Hall of Famers as his team owners.

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Andretti also won in July 1997 at Daytona International Speedway for Cale Yarborough Motorsports and won again two years later in car owner Richard Petty’s No. 43 at Martinsville Speedway.

He made his final NASCAR start with Front Row Motorsports in 2010.

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