'Top Gear' star Sabine Schmitz dies at the age of 51

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Top Gear presenter Sabine Schmitz answers media questions during the launch of the car show at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, which returns to BBC Two on May 29 at 8pm.
Sabine Schmitz on 'Top Gear' (PA)

Top Gear star Sabine Schmitz has died at the age of 51.

The German presenter and racing driver, who was known as the "Queen of the Nurburgring", had been battling cancer since 2017.

Schmitz’s fellow Top Gear star Jeremy Clarkson was among those to pay tribute, saying she was “such a sunny person”.

Read more: Top Gear fans in tears over emotional presenter tribute to their dads

The sad news was announced on Twitter by the German racing track Nurburgring.

“The Nürburgring has lost its most famous female racing driver,” the post said.

“Sabine Schmitz passed away far too early after a long illness. We will miss her and her cheerful nature.

"Rest in peace Sabine!”

Clarkson tweeted: “Terrible news about Sabine Schmitz. Such a sunny person and so full of beans."

Top Gear star Paddy McGuinness posted: “She gave me pointers on how to drive a Ferrari very fast and hunted me down in a banger race.

"Brilliantly bonkers and an amazing human being!

"RIP the great Sabine Schmitz.”

Chris Harris, also a presenter on the motoring show, shared a picture of the pair hugging and wrote: “Rest in peace you wonderful, powerful, hilarious person.”

Schmitz first appeared on Top Gear in 2004 and became a regular presenter on the programme in 2016, after it was revamped.

In 2020 she revealed her cancer diagnosis in a post on Facebook.

Explaining why she didn't take part in a race, she told fans: “Many of you must have wondered why I was on the list of participants on our Porsche in the NSL and then didn't drive.

"I would like to provide information here, I think I owe it to my / our fans!

"Since the end of 2017, I have been fighting an extremely persistent cancer, which has not been able to deal with the means to date.

Read more: Top Gear airs footage of Paddy McGuinness crashing Lamborghini

"It got a little better - but now he's come back full force.

"Now I have to draw all the strength and registers to powerfully overcome the next therapies... hoping that something will happen."

Watch: Top Gear vacates Dunsfold home for the first time in nearly 20 years

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