LONDON — Former Formula One boss Max Mosley, who campaigned to change British media laws after tabloid stories about his sex life, has died at the age of 81.

Friend Bernie Ecclestone, the former F1 chief executive, said Monday that Mosley died the previous evening. He did not disclose the cause of death.

He was like family to me. We were like brothers. I am pleased in a way because he suffered for too long, Ecclestone said.

A former race car driver, Mosley served as president of the international automobile federation, which governs Formula One racing, from 1993 until 2009.

He became a privacy campaigner after the News of the World newspaper ran a story in 2008 reporting, incorrectly, that he had attended a Nazi-themed orgy with several women.

Mosley, whose father was 1930s British fascist leader Oswald Mosley, successfully sued the newspaper for invasion of privacy. He acknowledged having sado-masochistic sex with five sex workers, but denied the event had a Nazi theme.

Mosley became a leading campaigner for tighter media privacy laws.

The News of the World was shut down by owner Rupert Murdoch in 2011 after the revelation that in its quest for scoops it had intercepted the voicemails of celebrities, crime victims and members of the royal family.