Niki Lauda, three-time Formula One champion and winner of two world titles passes away at the age of 70. He was also a prominent figure in the aviation industry. His family said in a statement that he “passed away peacefully”.
“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,” read the statement.
“With deep sadness, we announce that our beloved Niki has peacefully passed away with his family on Monday, May 20, 2019.”
“All at McLaren are deeply saddened to learn that our friend, colleague and 1984 Formula 1 World Champion, Niki Lauda, has passed away,” tweeted McLaren, Lauda’s former team. He had won his third world title with the British-based operation in 1984.
A year before he was badly burned in a race-track crash at the Nuerburgring during the German Grand Prix, he had won first world championship with Ferrari in 1975.
“The main damage, I think to myself, was lung damage from inhaling all the flames and fumes while I was sitting in the car for about 50 seconds,” recalled Lauda.
“I was really lucky in a way that I didn’t do any [other] damage to myself. So the real question was then will I be able to drive again, because certainly it was not easy to come back after a race like that,” he added.
His death came while undergoing a lung transplant. He was hospitalised for almost 10 days as he was suffering from influenza.