Formula 1 legend Niki Lauda has died at the age of 70.
The three-time world champion, who underwent a lung transplant in August 2018, “died peacefully” on May 20, his family said.
“His unique achievements as an athlete and entrepreneur are and will remain unforgettable, his tireless pursuit of action, his straightforwardness and courage remain an example and a standard for all of us,” his family said in a statement.
Nicki Lauda, one of the most famous figures in car racing, won the title for Ferrari in 1975 and 1977 and McLaren in 1984.
For many, the legendary Austrian will be remembered for his remarkable recovery and return to racing after being badly burned in a crash at the 1976 German Grand Prix.
A new generation of fans was introduced to Niki Lauda in the acclaimed 2013 film. Rush, which details his rivalry with British pilot James Hunt, the 1976 world champion.
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Niki Lauda, who was born in Vienna in February 1949, is a car racing legend who continues to be a successful businessman after retiring from the sport.
However, the Austrian is perhaps best known for surviving a crash in the 1976 season that left scars for life.
On August 1, 1976, a year after winning his first title, Nikki Lauda received third-degree burns to his head and face and inhaled toxic gases that damaged his lungs after his car exploded in the Nurburgring.
Nicki Lauda received her last rituals in hospital, but miraculously recovered and returned to the race, still bandaged, just 40 days later.
After a career as a racing driver, Nikki Lauda became an airline entrepreneur and recently non-executive chairman of the Mercedes Formula 1 team, which helped attract British driver Louis Hamilton, who won five world championships.
However, his deteriorating health followed in his later years, and he underwent a lung transplant last year.
Nikki Lauda has previously had two kidney transplants, the second donated in 2005 by his then-girlfriend Birgit Wetzinger, a former airline flight attendant whom he married in 2008.
In January 2019, he spent 10 days in hospital suffering from the flu.
Nicki Lauda leaves behind his wife, their twins, born in 2009, and three sons from previous relationships.