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Austrian F1 legend Niki Lauda dies at 70

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Niki Lauda on 1 February 2015Image copyright
AFP

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Niki Lauda underwent a lung transplant nine months ago

Three-time Formula 1 world champion Niki Lauda has died at the age of 70, his family says, nine months after undergoing a lung transplant.

The legendary Austrian took the title for Ferrari in 1975 and 1977 and McLaren in 1984.

For many, he will be remembered for his remarkable recovery and return to racing after being badly burned in a crash in the 1976 German Grand Prix.

“[He was] a role model and a benchmark for all of us,” his family said.

After his career as a racing driver, he became an airline entrepreneur and, most recently, a non-executive chairman for the Formula 1 Mercedes team, instrumental in bringing in British driver Lewis Hamilton, who has won five world championships.

“His unique achievements as an athlete and entrepreneur are and will remain unforgettable, his tireless zest for action, his straightforwardness and his courage remain a role model and a benchmark for all of us,” the statement said.

Lauda died peacefully with his family on Monday, it added.

In January, he spent some 10 days in hospital while suffering from influenza.

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