Max Mosley, the former motorsports boss whose high-profile court battle with a tabloid newspaper turned him into a privacy campaigner, has died.
he death of the 81-year-old, who had been suffering from cancer, was confirmed by ex-Formula One chief executive Bernie Ecclestone yesterday afternoon.
Mr Ecclestone told the PA news agency: “He died last night. He was like family to me. We were like brothers. I am pleased in a way because he suffered for too long.”
Mr Mosley, who spent decades working in the motorsport world, became an advocate for tighter press regulation after a 2008 privacy High Court battle against a now-defunct Sunday tabloid.
He successfully sued the News Of The World publisher after the newspaper wrongly reported he had been at a “Nazi-themed” sex party.
The High Court awarded Mr Mosley £60,000 (€69,000) damages after ruling that there was no justification for a front-page article and pictures about his meeting with five prostitutes in a London flat.
The paper was also ordered to pay £420,000 (€486,000) of his legal costs but his total bill came to more than £500,000 (€579,000), leaving Mr Mosley out of pocket, he later revealed.
Mr Mosley said he was “horrified” at seeing himself on the front of a best-selling newspaper, adding that he would never recover his dignity.
He said: “It felt like coming through your front door and everything in the house had been removed by thieves.”
He said at the time he had trusted the five women involved in the sadomasochistic sex sessions exposed by the News Of The World.
The worst aspect of the case for them was the fear that their parents or children would find out, he told MPs in 2009.
He called for the media to give people greater opportunity to seek court injunctions before running stories.
Mr Mosley’s campaign for tighter press regulation saw him donate funds to Impress, the only regulator which was recognised by the UK’s Press Recognition Panel (PRP) under the Royal Charter following the Leveson Inquiry into press standards.
Mr Mosley branded the government’s decision not to implement Part 2 of the Leveson Inquiry into the press and media a “disgrace”.
Born in London on April 13 1940, Mr Mosley was the son of 1930s British fascist leader Oswald Mosley.
In 2009, a year after the News Of The World story was
published, his was hit by tragedy when his son, Alexander, died.
The death of the 39-year-old, a long-term heroin user, was ruled by a coroner to be due to non-dependent drug abuse.
In 2011, Mr Mosley said the revelations about his private life had been hard for his wife, who no longer wanted to go out. He said they also had a “very bad effect” on Alexander.
Campaign group Hacked Off said Mr Mosley later set up a trust in his son’s name which “supported ethics and accountability in the press”.
In his youth he developed a love of motor racing and was involved in Formula 2 for Brabham and Lotus before retiring in 1969.