"I've known Charlie since I started in 2007", he said.
The FIA confirmed Whiting had died of a pulmonary embolism.
Whiting began his F1 career in 1977 working for the Hesketh team, before joining Brahbam in the 1980s.
He stayed with the team until Bernie Ecclestone sold it in 1988, where he joined the FIA as its technical delegate, before becoming the director and safety delegate in 1997.
FIA president Jean Todt said in a statement: "It is with huge sadness that I learned of Charlie's sudden passing".
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Jean Todt, the FIA president, described Whiting as a "central and inimitable figure in Formula One who embodied the ethics and spirit of this fantastic sport". "I think all our thoughts, the whole paddock, the whole circus, the whole family of Formula 1; all our thoughts are with him and especially with his family in these hard circumstances".
The FIA named Michael Masi as the replacement race director, safety delegate and permanent starter for this weekend's Australian Grand Prix.
His role involved managing the logistics of each grand prix, inspecting cars in parc ferme, and acting as the "referee" during races.
F1 race director Charlie Whiting, has died at the age of 66.
Whiting's race director role meant he was the lead official and in charge of everything rules related, from safety requirements and rule interpretation to the management of practice, qualifying and the race. "When I left, I said "see you in Australia for another season of racing".
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"I am deeply saddened to hear the awful news", Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said.
Whiting underwent his usual, thorough track walk on Wednesday with the drivers and teams and would have completed many of Masi's new obligations. Obviously there are regulations and all that, and then there is us, and he was the middle man.
Former champions McLaren said Whiting would be remembered "as one of the giants of our sport, as well as a great colleague". "All our thoughts go out to his family", he added.
"He was a man with great integrity who performed a hard role in a balanced way".
"He [Whiting] was a kind of icon of F1, but not only F1. On behalf of the entire Mercedes motorsport family, I send our deepest sympathies to his family and friends". "All our thoughts go out to his family".
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