Colin McRae, video game and car racing legend, dies at 39

Posted by Mark Raby

London (England) - Colin McRae, a former World Rally champion, died in a helicopter crash over the weekend, leaving his immortality in part in a series of top-selling video games.

The 39-year-old motorsport champion was confirmed dead yesterday after he was found in a downed helicopter near his home in Lanark, Scotland.  He was with his five-year-old son Johnny, who also passed away.

Though he earned numerous trophies, Colin McRae's most famous mark is as the World Raly Championship winner in 1995.

McRae was one of the few athletes who was so masterful in his field that he became the subject of his own video game series.  In 1998, Codemasters published Colin McRae Rally for the Playstation and PC.  Seven additional games would follow, including Colin McRae: Dirt, which was released on the Playstation 3 last week.

"Everyone at Codemasters, especially those who worked directly with Colin McRae, is deeply shocked and saddened by the tragic events of this weekend," said Codemasters in an official statement.  "Our thoughts are with his family and those closest to him and we share in their pain."

The Colin McRae series of games sold more than eight million copies over the past nine years.  Last month, McRae had announced that 2008 would probably be his last year in the World Rally Championship.

The cause of the helicopter crash is unknown.  An investigation began over the weekend and is still ongoing.