FORMER Top Gear presenter Sue Baker has died at the age of 67 after a battle with motor neurone disease.
The TV icon of the 1980s died “with family around her” on Monday morning, her family said.Sue Baker joined Series 4 of Top Gear in 1980[/caption]
Her family said: “It is with very 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, a wonderful mother-in-law to Lucy.
“She passed at home this morning with family around her.”
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They described Baker as “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,” they said.
“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.”
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Baker left Top Gear in 1991 to continue her work as a motoring journalist.
She set up and ran the Motor Racing News Service, based on the Kent motor racing track Brands Hatch.
She was also the Observer’s motoring editor for 13 years, leaving in 1995.
Tributes have poured in for Baker – with many describing her as a “trailblazer for women”.
The Guild of Motoring Writers said: “We are deeply saddened to learn our vice-president and former chair, @carscribe Sue Baker, passed away this morning following a long illness.
“Sue was a pioneer for women in automotive journalism and a former presenter of @BBC_TopGear. A full tribute will be published later.”
Geraldine Herbert, motoring editor for the Sunday Independent in Ireland, said: “I am deeply saddened to hear of the death of Sue Baker.
“She was a wonderful person, a brilliant journalist, and a dear friend. A former Top Gear presenter and motoring editor at the Observer, she blazed a trail for women in a man’s world.”
Motoring journalist Alex Grant said: “Sue was an absolute pleasure on events, and so welcoming and approachable as an industry newbie. My condolences to her family, she will be sorely missed.”
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Journalist Matt Bishop described Baker as a “pioneer”.
He said: “This is very sad. Sue Baker was a pioneer among motoring journalists who was very friendly to me when I was a newcomer on car launches & the like.”