TOP Gear legend Richard Hammond has paid a touching tribute to Ken Block after the rally driver died in a snowmobile crash.
Hammond remembered Ken as a "showman extraordinaire" and a "total artist behind the wheel"as he spoke exclusively to The Sun Online after the daredevil driver's tragic death.
Block had been enjoying his Christmas season with his family at his ranch in Utah – sharing snaps of himself doing jumps and wheelies on snowmobiles.
And the motoring world was heartbroken this morning when Ken's racing team Hoonigan confirmed he had been killed in the accident aged just 55.
He leaves behind his wife Lucy and their three children, including fellow speed demon his daughter Lia.
Hammond, 53,worked with Block alongside with the other original Top Gear hosts, James May and Jeremy Clarkson.
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"Of course we all got on with him, how could you not?" he told The Sun Online.
"His family have lost such a passionate dynamo – their loss is being felt to an extent by millions of people.
"I hope they can take some comfort in seeing globally how many people were devastated when they saw the news."
He added: "I wish I had spent more time with him, but like everyone else I am more than anything a fan of Ken."
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Block reached a new legion of fans in the UK thanks to his antics on Top Gear.
And as well as being beloved by racing and car fans, he was a social media sensation – with more than 10million followers across YouTube, Instagram and TikTok.
His Top Gear appearances included driving May around an airport rallycross stage, and hurtling around in a Reliant Round for Clarkson.
He also appeared in the show's reboot, riding with host Matt LeBlanc for some stunt driving in central London.
And hejoined Clarkson, Hammond and May for a live show in 2015 – before the original trio went on to present hit Amazon show The Grand Tour.
The year before he also appeared on Top Gear Live racing in a rare F1 vs Rallycross crossover against F1 champ Lewis Hamilton.
You didn't have to be a car nerd like me to watch what he did – your jaw just hits the floor.
As they worked together on the show, Richard said Ken was constantly "bright, bouncy and just wanting to get on with it".
"He never listened to a briefing and wasn't really interested in that sort of thing, he just wanted to get on with it," he said
The Top Gear star – who had a near death crash while driving a dragster in 2006 – said Block's daredevil nature came from is "absolute faith" in his own abilities.
"He knew what he could do behind the wheel and he lived in that space," Richard told The Sun Online.
Block was world-respected rally star, stunt driver and daredevil – something which earned him a huge following on social media.
Hammond said that Block managed to bring the "proper childish crazy thrill and fun" of driving to people all over the world.
Hammond told The Sun Online: "Ken came late to driving and by God he took it by the scruff of the neck and took it to a whole new level.
"He was a showman extraordinaire as well and he just loved it.
"But there was also the loyalty he inspired by the people around him, he really wanted them to be the best they could be.
"In that sense he was an inspiration, he was using his crazy driving and using it to show what you could do – its a real loss."
He added: "He lived at the point where the real joy lies in cars, speaking as a car guy.
"You didn't have to be a car nerd like me to watch what he did – your jaw just hits the floor.
"What he did was incredible and he revelled in it. He was so good, and that joy is now gone. It's something we no longer get to share."
Block became one of the most famous Rally car drivers in the world after he started competing in 2005.
He landed Rookie of the Year in his first season in the Rally America Championship.
The rally car star made many overall wins and podium appearances.
Block also competed in motocross, skateboarding, and other action sports.
Top Gear reboot host Matt LeBlanc posted a touching tribute on Instagram.
"So saddened by the loss of Ken Block. A true talent and friend taken far too soon," he wrote.
"You will be missed by all who had the pleasure of meeting you my friend."
Alex Renton, executive producer of Top Gear, told The Sun Online: "Ken was a trailblazer in the automotive industry.
"We had the pleasure to work with Ken on several occasions over the years and his contributions were always so memorable and exciting for our audience.
"We were honoured to have had the chance to work with him and learn from him."
May also paid tribute to block on Twitter and share a link to their airfield rally video.
"RIP Ken Block, with thanks for some hilarious days out," he wrote.
The world of motorsport is mourning Block, with seven time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton leading tributes.
Hamilton said: "I am devastated to hear of Ken Block's passing. He was such an amazing person, always lived life to the fullest.
"I remember our first time working together and how positive he was. So much talent behind the wheel.
"Years ago, we had an amazing time heli-skiing and snowboarding in Canada.
"We held so much respect for one another.
"He will truly be missed and my thoughts and prayers go to his beautiful family. Gone too soon.
2009 F1 World Champion Jenson Button also paid tribute to Block.
"Such a talent that did so much for our sport. He was a true visionary with his own unique style & infectious smile," said Jenson.
"Our sport lost one of the best today but more importantly a great man."
In a statement, Hammond, Clarkson and May's social platform DriveTribe said: "All of us at DriveTribe are incredibly saddened to hear about the passing of a true legend.
"What a talent Ken was; His ability behind the wheel was matched by his attitude outside of a car; he was so well loved by his team and the people he worked with.
"He really wanted the best for them and for them to be the best they could. Rest In Peace."
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