FORMER top class jockey Gary Palmer has died, reports Racing Network.

News of the death of Palmer, a whiz apprentice who rode successfully in Hong Kong and Macau, particularly rocked Queensland racing where he had been a steward for the past three years.

Palmer enjoyed a strong partnership with legendary trainer Tommy Hughes.

He won a Toorak Handicap with Salamander, a Brisbane Cup on Love Bandit as well as a Doomben Cup and Chipping Norton on Grey Affair.

Palmer win two Stradbrokes on Daybreak Lover and Roulson. He also won the Queensland Derby  on Florissa and Queensland Oaks on Look Aloft.

Racing Victoria chairman of stewards Terry Bailey described the news as "devastating".

Bailey said Palmer was someone to be admired not only as a first class jockey, but more importantly as a person.

"He was a great rider, but a greater person," Bailey said.

Greg Hall, who grew up with Palmer, was shocked at the news. "Gary was a pretty quiet sort of guy, but when you got to know him , you soon realised what a champion bloke he was," Hall said.

Racing Queensland CEO Darren Condon said Mr Palmer was a much-loved member of the Queensland racing fraternity and the thoughts of the industry were with his family.

“Gary grew up in a racing family- his father Ron was a trainer-jockey and his two sons Matthew and Michael went to become jockeys themselves. His success both at home in Queensland and overseas, show just what a true champion he was,” Condon said.

“Gary was also a very well-respected member of our stewards’ panel and it was fitting that he should continue his involvement in the industry in an officiating capacity when he stopped riding.

“The thoughts and prayers of Racing Queensland and the wider community are with Gary’s family at this time and I would please ask that their privacy be respected.”