Al Unser, four-time Indy 500 winner, dies at 82
US former four-time Indy 500 winner Al Unser Sr has died aged 82 years. Chris Graythen GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File

Alfred 'Al' Unser, a four-time winner of the Indianapolis 500 race, has died aged at the age of 82 after a 17-year cancer battle, his son Al Unser Jr. and the IndyCar championship said on Friday.

"My heart is so saddened. My father passed away last night. He was a Great man and even a Greater Father. Rest In Peace Dad," Al Unser Jr, a two-time Indianapolis winner, wrote on Twitter.

Unser was born on May 29, 1939 in Albuquerque, New Mexico into a racing family with his brother Bobby also a three-time winner of the Indianapolis 500 race.

The Unser auto racing dynasty goes back to the 19th century with the brothers Louis and Jerry Unser.

Al and Bobby's brother, Jerry Junior, was killed during testing at the Indianapolis 500 circuit in 1959.

In addition to his Indy victories in 1970, 1971, 1978 and 1987, Al Unser also won the Pike's Peak race in Colorado twice, an event the Unsers have won 25 times between 1936 and 2004.

Nicknamed "Big Al" to differentiate him from his son, Al Unser Snr finished third in the Indy 500 in 1992, the year Al Unser Jnr won the race.

He was also the oldest driver to win that race in 1987 aged 47 years, competing for the final time in 1994, when Al Unser Jr won for the second time.

Combined, the Unser family have made 73 career starts in the 500, eclipsed only by the 76 of the Andrettis.

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