Roger Bannister, First Runner To Break 4-Minute Mile, Dies At 88

In this May 6, 1954, file photo, Britain's Roger Bannister hits the tape to break the four-minute mile in Oxford, England. AP file photo)

LONDON (AP) — Roger Bannister, the first runner to break the 4-minute barrier in the mile, has died. He was 88.

Bannister’s family said in a statement that he died peacefully on Saturday (Mar. 3) in Oxford, the English city where the runner cracked the feat many had thought humanly impossible on a windy afternoon in 1954.

Bannister, who went on to pursue a long and distinguished medical career, had been slowed by Parkinson’s disease in recent years.

He was “surrounded by his family who were as loved by him, as he was loved by them,” the family said in a statement announcing his death on Sunday. “He banked his treasure in the hearts of his friends.”

The Olympic Flame is passed between Sir Roger Bannister and Oxford doctoral student Nicola Byrom on the running track at Iffley Road Stadium in Oxford, England, Tuesday July 10, 2012. (AP file photo)

British Prime Minister Theresa May remembered Bannister as a “British sporting icon whose achievements were an inspiration to us all. He will be greatly missed.”