Record-breaking British athlete Roger Bannister dies aged 88

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: "Sir Roger Bannister was more than simply one of the greatest athletes of all time - by breaking the four-minute mile he redefined what was thought impossible, and inspired the world".

Bannister, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in 2011, died at his home in Oxford, his family said in a brief announcement on Sunday, reports Xinhua news agency. He was "surrounded by his family who were as loved by him, as he was loved by them", the family said.

Bannister accomplished a feat many deemed impossible when he ran a mile in 3 minutes 59.4 seconds at Oxford's Iffley Road track on May 6, 1954.

Bannister went on to work in neurology after beating the mile record time in 1954. Bannister later wrote of the final moments of the race: "I felt at that moment that it was my chance to do one thing supremely well". Bannister burst through to win the gold by crossing the line in 3 minutes and 58.8 seconds.

Bannister's athletic achievement was made on May 6, 1954, in Oxford, England.

Previously for nine years, Swedish runner Gundar Haegg had the mile record of 4:01.4.

He was also instrumental in initiating the first testing processes for anabolic steroids while serving as chairman of the British Sports Council in the 1970s.

"He was an inspiration to those like me who sought to combine university with worldwide sport".

He entered the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki as the United Kingdom record-holder in the mile, finishing a disappointing fourth in the 1,500-meter run.

"It's incredible that more people have climbed Mount Everest than have broken the 4-minute mile", Bannister said in an interview with The Associated Press in 2012. Like the first man on the moon, Bannister was already a legend.

Later in 1954, Bannister retired from athletics to focus on his study of medicine at the University of Oxford, eventually becoming a neurologist.

Steve Ford, chief executive of Parkinson's United Kingdom said: "We're very saddened to hear of the death of Sir Roger Bannister".

"There is not a single athlete of my generation who was not inspired by Roger and his achievements both on and off the track", Coe tweeted.

Paula Radcliffe, Britain's world marathon record holder, said Bannister had broken "the most iconic barrier in the history of sport".

"At the age of 88 he was still an active supporter of the University and we will miss him enormously".

Bannister returned to Oxford in 1985 to become Master of Pembroke College, a position he held until 1993.

Bannister married Moyra Jacobsson, an artist, in 1955. Chataway died in 2014 at 82.

  • Angelo Rivera