Bernie Ecclestone has given an emotional homage to Tyler Alexander who has passed away, calling the former McLaren legend 'a special person'.

Formula One group's CEO Ecclestone has led tributes paid to Alexander, who died on Thursday aged 75, having helped established McLaren in 1963 before a brief period working on other efforts in the US and Europe between 1983 and 1989. The American returned to McLaren from Indycar to manage its special project division and during a phenomenal second 20-year stint Alexander helped the team claim six drivers' and five constructors' titles in F1 during that period.

Ecclestone was a rival and a friend throughout Alexander's career in F1 and has given a touching statement on 'a true motor racing man' who he will undoubtedly miss.

"Tyler Alexander was a true motor racing man, passionate, knowledgeable and the kindest of people," Ecclestone said on formula1.com. "He worked with some of the greatest drivers, spanning nearly 50 years.

"He was a friend and had been through his days in motorsport. Tyler was a special person to me. He understood people and the sport. I am going to miss him."

A legion of F1 figures also passed on their thoughts to Alexander's family and McLaren, including team boss Ron Dennis, McLaren driver Jenson Button, former drivers Kevin Magnussen and Heikki Kovalainen and Mercedes executive technical director Paddy Lowe.

"Tyler Alexander was one of the first pillars of our company - working hard alongside Bruce from the very earliest days - and Bruce couldn't have asked for a sturdier pair of shoulders upon which to help build the team's reputation," Dennis said.

"On behalf of all at McLaren, I'd like to pay heartfelt tribute to one of our team's founding fathers, and to offer our deepest condolences to his many friends and his ever-loving companion, Jane Nottage, who has always stood by him, valiant to the very end."