Veteran Iditarod musher Jerry Austin has died at the age of 62.
Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race spokesman Chas St. George says Austin was taken off life support and died Wednesday.
Austin ran the race 18 times, won the sportsmanship award three times and is in the Iditarod Hall of Fame.
But St. George says beyond anything else, what he provided to the race and the Iditarod family was his commitment to recognizing race rookies.
He has his wife, Clara, have sponsored the Most Valuable Rookie award since 1980. His personal best finish was third in 1982.
The Anchorage Daily News reports Austin was a hunting and fishing guide and that he owned the Golsovia River Lodge, 40 miles up the Norton Sound coast from St. Michael. He will be buried near his home.