John Andretti, NASCAR Driver, Dead at 56 Following Colon Cancer Battle
By Jennifer Drysdale
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images for NASCAR
Rest in peace, John Andretti.
The NASCAR and IndyCar driver has died after a battle with colon cancer, Andretti Autosport announced on Thursday. He was 56.
“It [is] with the heaviest of hearts we share that John Andretti has today lost his battle with cancer," reads a statement on the Andretti Autosport Twitter page. "John was a loving husband and father, a devoted son and a trusted cousin. He was a philanthropist, an advocate for the sport, a dedicated teammate, a driven competitor and most importantly a dear friend."
"Through Race4Riley, John spent decades dedicating his time and fundraising attention to Riley Hospital for Children," the statement continued. "When first diagnosed with colon cancer in 2017, John vowed to fight back and use his voice to help spread the word of prevention and early detection. He fought hard and stole back days the disease vowed to take away. He helped countless others undergo proper screening, and in doing so, saved lives."
The statement concluded: "We will forever carry with us John's genuine spirit of helping others first and himself second. Our prayers today are with Nancy, Jarett, Olivia and Amelia, with our entire family, and with fans worldwide. We urge all our followers to, please, #CheckIt4Andretti."
As the statement mentioned, Andretti first revealed his colon cancer diagnosis in April 2017. After months of chemotherapy, he was declared cancer-free in late 2017, but less than a year later, in May 2018, his cancer returned and metastasized even further. He went through another round of chemotherapy for the rest of the year. The cancer relapsed again in March 2019.
Andretti raced for 17 seasons before his NASCAR retirement in 2010. He was the older brother of racer Adam Andretti, nephew of Indianapolis 500 winner Mario Andretti, and first cousin to IndyCar champion Michael and Jeff Andretti. Andretti's son, Jarett, was a USAC sprint car driver.
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