J.D. Gibbs, son of Joe Gibbs and former president of the NASCAR team, dies at the age of 49

J.D. Gibbs, the oldest son of Washington Redskins Joe Gibbs, died Friday at age 49 after a long battle with a degenerative neurological disease.

The news was announced shortly after midnight Saturday by Joe Gibbs Racing, the NASCAR team owned by the family and the Hall of Fame coach in 1991 in Huntersville, N.C. founded.

"Joe Gibbs Racing values ​​everyone's respect for the privacy of the Gibbs family during this difficult time," the statement added, adding that details regarding a commemoration would be announced at a later date.

Within hours of the news of his death, the Gibbs family received an abundance of sympathy and support on social media from rival teams, owners of race circuits, racers and fans.

Joe Gibbs Racing & # 39; s longest regular rider, Denny Hamlin, tweette"His car, his number, his signature over my door, I will always be grateful for what his family did for me and the opportunity he gave me 14 years ago."

From seven times NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson"My heart goes out to the Gibbs family about the death of JD this morning, always so nice and kind to everyone."

In the NASCAR family, J.D. more than the right hand of his father. Appointed president of Joe Gibbs Racing in 1997, J.D. was of great importance to expand the company from a single-car team to a NASCAR-force that won four championships at the elite Cup level. His younger brother, Coy, 46, was also involved with the team and drove a while in the NASCAR truck series.

Favorably and infallibly optimistic, J.D. Gibbs throughout NASCAR very respected – held high in terms of business leaders, drivers, mechanics and media.

He was given additional responsibilities in 2004 whereby his father, who had been a coach of the Redskins after the 1992 season, returned for a second stint as head coach of Washington.

A pious man and father of four, graduated from Oakton High School in Northern Virginia. He was a rock for his family during the struggle of his own son Taylor with childhood leukemia. After the disease has been diagnosed at the age of 2, Taylor is now cancer free

Joe Gibbs had acknowledged his son's illness during a dismal press conference before a NASCAR race at Martinsville Speedway in March 2015. As the president of the NASCAR operation of the family, the absence of J.D. got off the track.

Gibbs explained that J.D. since the end of 2014 had to deal with brain dysfunction. The cause was unclear at that time, as was the diagnosis. But the symptoms increasingly influenced his speech and cognitive function.

"In short, his situation is medical – there are very few answers," Gibbs, now 78, told reporters at the time. "We have been dealing with this for about six months, and what the doctors actually say is that they really do not know.

In addition to playing football with William and Mary, J.D. Gibbs as a child motorcycles, he snowboarded and he had a short career as a stock car racer. But his father explained during the 2015 press conference that there was no incident or head trauma that could be related to his symptoms, while acknowledging that "any injuries" had played a role.

JGR, as the Gibbs NASCAR operation is known, currently has four Cup teams (for drivers Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. and Erik Jones); three teams in the Xfinity series, one went down; and funds development programs for a handful of a handful of young drivers.