I was 12 years old when I found out Gilles Villeneuve had been killed - and it broke a schoolboy's heart.
It was the legendary French Canadian who first sparked my interest in Formula One, when as a nine-year-old I came home from a family holiday and turned on the TV to see some madman driving a three-wheeled Ferrari at some unimaginable speed.
That madman turned out to be Villeneuve, the event the 1979 Dutch Grand Prix, and it started a fascination with Villeneuve in particular, and F1 in general, that continues today, even if the rose-tinted spectacles have long since been removed.
Villeneuve was my first - and last - sporting hero, but what a hero to have.
Unquestionably the greatest driver of his era - and undoubtedly one of the finest of all time - Villeneuve made you wonder, to paraphrase Jacques Laffite, his F1 contemporary, whether human beings could perform miracles.
The fastest driver in the world - some would say ever - Villeneuve was hampered throughout his career by cars not worthy of his talent.
But he never gave less than his all, and usually had them in places they had no right to be.
His career was littered with heroic performances the like of which have scarcely been seen before or since.
It's little wonder that a small boy ended up lost in admiration.
My parents were well aware of my hero worship, so it was with a degree of sensitivity that my dad broke the news of Villeneuve's accident as he picked me up from a school trip.
"I've got some bad news," he said. "Villeneuve's crashed."
"Is it bad?"
"Is that worse than serious or not as bad?"
The rest of the journey passed in near silence. When we got home, my mum had cooked my favourite meal, and as I ate it the news came on the TV, and with it the information I had so wished I wouldn't hear.
Around the world, I was later to discover, thousands more felt the same.
Some might say Villeneuve's death is what secured him his legendary status, but I don't agree. He'd have it regardless.
People remember the bravery, the daring, the sheer unadulterated speed, as well as the honesty and honour that - as contributing factors to his death - make Villeneuve's story all the more tragic.
But there was another side to Villeneuve, a sensitivity and intelligence that is less well known, but which has been explored expertly by my friend and fellow journalist Mark Hughes www.autosport.com/journal/ar...
I've learnt a lot more about F1 in the intervening 25 years. I continued to follow it. I spent five years attending the races as a reporter. And I continue to work on it now.
I expected that knowledge would tone down my appreciation of Villeneuve, but in fact it has done the opposite.
The more I learn about F1, the more I realise just how special he was.
And even now, 25 years later, remembering the man who I think just might be the greatest talent ever to step into a racing car sends a few shivers down my spine.