J.D. Gibbs, the co-founder of Joe Gibbs Racing, died Friday from “complications following a long battle with a degenerative neurological disease,” the NASCAR team announced. He was 49.

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Joe Gibbs Racing Co-Founder and Co-Chairman, J.D. Gibbs, who passed away earlier tonight at the age of 49 from complications following a long battle with a degenerative neurological disease. pic.twitter.com/kmyKRHupeq

— Joe Gibbs Racing (@JoeGibbsRacing) January 12, 2019

The son of former Washington Redskins coach and team co-owner Joe Gibbs, J.D. Gibbs served as president and co-chairman of the racing team after working as a pit crew member and a part-time driver. Between 1998 and 2002, J.D. Gibbs made 13 starts in NASCAR’s national series — five in the XFINITY Series and eight in the Truck Series — before heading over to management with the team.

About the move, J.D. Gibbs told The Washington Post in 2014, via NASCAR.com:

“My dad, he fired me in a nice way,” Gibbs said, with his father and driver Kyle Busch alongside. “He gave me an office and said, ‘hey, you’re now the president, because you’re a horrible driver.’”

Here’s how many in the NASCAR world reacted to the news of Gibbs’ death, including some of JGR’s Cup Series drivers, Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to succeed and for guiding me along the way. We won together and we lost together, but you had a way to light up a room and bring peace to all. It was truly an honor to call you a friend. Love you JD. pic.twitter.com/RAuJDqGLsU

— Kyle Busch (@KyleBusch) January 12, 2019

His car. His number. His signature above my door. I will always be grateful for what His family did for mine and the opportunity he gave me 14 years ago. Now more than ever #doitforJD

— Denny Hamlin (@dennyhamlin) January 12, 2019

I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of JD Gibbs. He and the entire JGR organization were key to my career in NASCAR and will forever be in my heart. My thoughts and prayers go out to the entire family at JGR during this very difficult time. pic.twitter.com/yQ42OFHAwZ

— Daniel Suárez (@Daniel_SuarezG) January 12, 2019

What an incredible person. So very kind and humble. Thinking of the Gibbs family and all his friends at JGR. https://t.co/jqTq414630

— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) January 12, 2019

My heart goes out to the Gibbs family about JD’s passing this morning. He was always so kind and gracious to everyone.

— Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) January 12, 2019

Heartbroken for the entire Gibbs family. J.D. was a great person – a family man who loved sports & racing in particular. He played a big part in my career, both as a driver & as a team owner. When he asked how you were doing, he genuinely cared. I'll miss that the most. https://t.co/fnYndYp3uy

— Tony Stewart (@TonyStewart) January 12, 2019

I’m so sad. This is awful news.
Hugging @PaigeKeselowski one more extra time tonight before bed and thinking about the Gibbs family. 😞 https://t.co/TkCRufIasS

— Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) January 12, 2019

J.D. was an amazing person… My thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Gibbs family. #rip #SoSad https://t.co/pblmN60RA0

— Kasey Kahne (@kaseykahne) January 12, 2019

Gutted by the news of JD Gibbs, I had the tremendous opportunity to be around him for 6 years and not a day went by where he had the smile that could light up the room! I always left that room with a smile and a sore arm from him with a surprise punch every time😏 Rest Easy JD!

— Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) January 12, 2019

what sad news to wake up to this morning. never got to drive for J.D. but had a lot of great conversations with him about life and racing. have missed him being around the track and his smile he had for everyone. thinking and praying for the whole Gibbs family and organization https://t.co/LosqpymTUJ

— Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (@StenhouseJr) January 12, 2019

Devastated after hearing the passing of J.D. Gibbs 💔 I can’t begin to tell you all how incredible of a guy he was and there is no way I would be where I am today without him. That man made such an impact on the entire outcome of my life. You will forever be in our hearts

— Matt DiBenedetto (@mattdracing) January 12, 2019

Please keep the Gibbs family and all their friends in your prayers. Their faith and love throughout all of this has been truly inspirational and our hearts go out to them. https://t.co/QEk4taSRKA

— Samantha Busch (@SamanthaBusch) January 12, 2019

J.D was the type of man we all strive to be. His heart, smile and attitude were contagious where ever he was. He will be missed. Thoughts and prayers to the Gibbs Family. https://t.co/cYcN6mkEm1

— Steve Letarte (@SteveLetarte) January 12, 2019

JD Gibbs was a man of integrity and values. He will be greatly missed! My thoughts and prayers are with the entire Gibbs family.

— Jeff Burton (@JeffBurton) January 12, 2019

My heart was saddened when I heard the news last night about JD Gibbs passing away. I can’t emphasize enough about what a positive impact JD was on my life. Prayers to all of the Gibbs family. 🙏🏻

— Bobby Labonte (@Bobby_Labonte) January 12, 2019

If you want to know how to live life the right way and leave a legacy that will last forever-look no further than the example JD GIBBS set for all of us. A great leader, a man of faith, a family man and a friend. Rest In Peace JD.

— Steve O'Donnell (@odsteve) January 12, 2019

More NASCAR!

How 15 NASCAR drivers are spending the offseason, from the beach to the mountains

See Jimmie Johnson's 2019 paint scheme with his new sponsor

How an FBI raid indirectly led to a NASCAR team shutting down