J.D. Gibbs, who followed his famous father’s path from football to stock-car racing, died Friday evening. He was 49.
Gibbs’ passing was announced by Joe Gibbs Racing, the family’s racing team, citing “complications following a long battle with a degenerative neurological disease.” Gibbs had undergone treatment for symptoms impacting areas of brain function in recent years.
Gibbs served as president and later co-chairman of Joe Gibbs Racing. Before joining the organization’s senior management, Gibbs was an over-the-wall crewmember and a part-time driver, making 13 NASCAR national series starts from 1998-2002.
J.D. was appointed president of the company in 1998, and he was named co-chairman in 2016. Before stepping into a management role, he was an over-the-wall crew member and a part-time driver. He made 13 NASCAR national series starts between 1998 and 2002.
He attended Oakton High school in Vienna, Virginia, and the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. He played high school and college football.
Joe Gibbs coached the Washington team from 1981 to 1992, returning again as coach in 2004 for four more seasons. He coached the team to three Super Bowl championships.
Gibbs is survived by wife Melissa, and four boys. According to a report by Zack Albert of NASCAR.com, Gibbs had been suffering from a neurological ailment since around 2014, which had affected his speech and processing functions. In a 2015 report by Bob Pockrass of ESPN, doctors had stated that Gibbs' condition was related to "head injuries likely suffered earlier in life". However, no specific injury was pinpointed.
PHOTOS: J.D. Gibbs through the years
The Washington Redskins issued a statement from owner Dan Snyder calling J.D. a “champion in life and sports.”
Denny Hamlin, tweeted: “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.”
From seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson: “My heart goes out to the Gibbs family about JD’s passing this morning. He was always so kind and gracious to everyone.”