It was a devastating weekend for Formula 1, with Roland Ratzenberger also being killed during an accident in qualifying.
Senna was and remains revered for his uncompromising style, desire to win and stunning performances, especially in wet weather. He won a quarter of the races he started (41 from 161) and took 85 pole positions. In his illustrious 10-year career in Formula 1 between 1984 and 1994, Ayrton Senna won three world championships, in 1988, 1990 and 1991.
Following a karting career in Brazil, Senna began single-seater racing in Britain, enjoying success in Formula Ford and Formula 3. A test with the Toleman F1 team in autumn 1983 resulted in Senna becoming one of the squad's drivers for 1984.
After one season with Toleman and a further three with Lotus, Senna moved to McLaren in 1988; it was here his greatest career triumphs came. McLaren-Honda dominated the 1988 season, with Senna and team-mate Alain Prost winning 15 of the 16 races.
Thereon, mutual hostility would characterise the pair's relationship throughout their respective careers at McLaren, as each strove to beat the other. Prost controversially managed that in 1989, while Senna scooped the next two titles, the latter after the Frenchman had departed the team for Ferrari.
Senna's final season in F1 was with Williams. His 1994 title campaign had started poorly with two non-finishes in the first two rounds at Brazil and Japan. Senna had qualified on pole for the San Marino Grand Prix and was leading from Michael Schumacher when his Williams FW16 veered off the track at Tamburello and hit a wall.
Senna was honoured with a state funeral in Brazil and his foundation continues to support impoverished children in his homeland.