Max Mosley, the former president of motor sports' world governing body the FIA, has died aged 81.

Mosley became FIA president in 1993 after serving in previous administrative roles in motor sport, including within Formula One. He served three terms as president before standing down in 2009.

Ex-Formula One chief executive Bernie Ecclestone confirmed the news, saying: "Max was like family to me. We were like brothers. I am pleased in a way because he suffered for too long."

Mosley, who was born in London on April 13, 1940, was the son of 1930s British fascist leader Oswald Mosley.

In 2008 he won a privacy case against the News of the World newspaper after it printed photographs and published video of his involvement in a sadomasochistic sex session.

It was reported by the newspaper as a "sick Nazi orgy", but Justice Eady found no evidence of Nazi themes in his judgement. He also said there was no public interest defence in the clandestine recording of the session.

Mosley, who had been suffering from cancer, experienced a family tragedy in 2009 when his son Alexander died aged 39. The coroner ruled Alexander’s death was due to non-dependent drug abuse.

Mosley senior studied at Oxford University, where he read physics, but later trained as a lawyer and became a barrister whose specialism was patent and trademark law.

His love of motor racing began in his youth and he was involved in Formula 2 for Brabham and Lotus before retiring in 1969.