by Carrie Simpson - motorsport.com
Five times World TT champion and Ulsterman, Joey Dunlop 48 was killed today while competing in a road race meeting in Tallinn, Estonia.
Dunlop was was leading on the second lap when he crashed his 125cc bike on the 6.2-mile public roads circuit.
Mr Dunlop was awarded the MBE for his motorcyling exploits and the OBE for charity works, incuding his visits to war-torn Bosnia to hand out food packages. He started racing in 1969 and won 26 Isle of Man TT races, the first in 1977.
He leaves his wife Linda and five children, Julie, Donna, Gary, Richard and Joanne.
Northern Ireland's First Minister David Trimble and Deputy First Minister Seamus Mallon spoke of their sadness at the news.
In a statement they said: "We were shocked and saddened on hearing the news that Northern Ireland's premier motor cycle ace, Joey Dunlop OBE, MBE was killed this afternoon while racing in Estonia.
"Everyone in Northern Ireland, not just fans of motor sport, has followed Joey's glittering career with tremendous pride and satisfaction.
"In particular, his recent string of successes in the Isle of Man TT gave us all something to be proud of.
"Five times world champion, Joey was a brilliant sportsman, a true man of the people and a wonderful ambassador for Northern Ireland.
"It will be hard to find his like again. We send our deepest condolences to his grieving wife Linda, his children, brother Robert and other members of his family circle."