Published: 07:32 | 21/5/19

Niki Lauda dies aged 70

Three-time Formula 1 world champion Niki Lauda has died at the age of 70.

The Austrian, who underwent a lung transplant in August, 'passed away peacefully' on Monday, his family have confirmed.

Lauda made a remarkable return to the sport after being badly burned in a crash at the 1976 German Grand Prix, taking part in a race just six weeks later before going on to finish second in the championship to James Hunt.

Having already secured his first world title a year before the crash, Lauda claimed another two titles, first for Ferrari in 1977 and then for McLaren in 1984.

Following his retirement he became an airline entrepreneur and in recent years he has been a non-executive chairman for the Formula 1 Mercedes team.

“With deep sadness, we announce that our beloved Niki has peacefully passed away with his family on Monday,” a statement from his family read.

“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, he was a loving and caring husband, father and grandfather away from the public, and he will be missed.”

Tributes have poured in from Formula 1 with his former team McLaren tweeting: “All at McLaren are deeply saddened to learn that our friend, colleague and 1984 Formula 1 World Champion, Niki Lauda, has passed away. Niki will forever be in our hearts and enshrined in our history. #RIPNiki."

2009 world champion Jenson Button added: “A legend has left us. Rest in peace Niki #nikilauda.”

Lauda is survived by his second wife, Birgit, twins Max and Mia as well as his sons, Lukas and Mathias from his first marriage.

Getty Images/Clive Mason

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