Three-time Formula 1 world champion Niki Lauda has passed away at the age of 70. He was born in Vienna in February 1949, was a motor racing legend who went on to be a successful businessman following his retirement from the sport.
According to his family, Lauda, who underwent a lung transplant in August, “passed away peacefully” on Monday.
Niki Lauda was one of the best-known figures in motor racing. He took the title for Ferrari in 1975 and 1977 and McLaren in 1984.
For the motor racing world, he will be always remembered for his remarkable recovery and return to racing after getting badly burned in a crash in the 1976 German Grand Prix.
One year after winning his first title, on 1 August 1976, he suffered third-degree burns to his head and face and inhaled toxic gases that damaged his lungs after his vehicle burst into flames at Nurburgring.
This is the crash that left Niki Lauda seriously injured at the 1976 German Grand Prix.
— SkyNews (@SkyNews) May 21, 2019
He was reportedly given the last rites while being in hospital but made a miraculous recovery and returned to racing, still in bandages, just 40 days later.
The new generation of motor racing and fans were introduced to Lauda in the acclaimed 2013 film Rush, which details the account of his rivalry with British driver James Hunt, the 1976 world champion.
Paying tribute to Niki Lauda, F1 has shared a special message on social media.
The message reads, “Forever carried in our hearts, forever immortalized in our history. The motorsport community today mourns the devastating loss of a true legend”.
Rest in peace Niki Lauda.
Forever carried in our hearts, forever immortalised in our history. The motorsport community today mourns the devastating loss of a true legend.
The thoughts of everyone at F1 are with his friends and family. pic.twitter.com/olmnjDaefo
— Formula 1 (@F1) May 21, 2019
Three-time Formula 1 world champion Niki Lauda produced the “most courageous act of any sportsman” in returning to racing so soon after a horrific crash, says former team-mate John Watson.
Tributes and messages have been pouring in on social media for Niki Lauda;
Everyone at Ferrari is deeply saddened at the news of the death of our dear friend Niki Lauda. He won two of his three world championships with us and will always be in our hearts and in those of all Ferrari fans. Our sincere condolences go to all his family and friends.#CiaoNiki pic.twitter.com/mbzZBNZiRZ
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) May 21, 2019
RIP the Great #NikiLauda. Here’s our last meeting in #MonteCarlo in ‘18 We first met while making the movie Rush. The F1 world knows of his grit & intensely competitive spirit, but that matched w/his keen intelligence & wisdom made him a distinctively remarkable man. a force. pic.twitter.com/SMizNt9Hge
— Ron Howard (@RealRonHoward) May 21, 2019
My heart is heavy today, mourning the loss of a colleague and friend. Niki Lauda… a true-blue wonderful man pic.twitter.com/iOLPAZ9NG1
— Mario Andretti (@MarioAndretti) May 21, 2019
RIP Niki Lauda .Thk U 4 igniting my love for racing w/your 84 https://t.co/yVqdHtzPZg earliest love 4 racing & cars stemmed from you.I wish I told you that when we met but I was too nervous to speak.I’m honored 2 stand beside your #AMG racing https://t.co/GBXzkNvJSo are a legend. pic.twitter.com/TXolRDY2es
— Talinda Bennington-Friedman (@TalindaB) May 21, 2019
Niki Lauda: The legend and the legacy
— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) May 21, 2019
— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) May 21, 2019
“We grow up dreaming of the accomplishment of sports heroes and when one of them passes away, we feel a little bit lonelier. Today is a sad day as we lost part of the history of Formula 1. We must honour the legacy of such a fighter as Niki Lauda." @Anto_Giovinazzi pic.twitter.com/8TVP6YOEyd
— Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN (@alfaromeoracing) May 21, 2019
A true sporting giant 👏
— MotoGP™🏁 (@MotoGP) May 21, 2019
— Jeff Gordon (@JeffGordonWeb) May 21, 2019