21 May 2019
Formula 1: Niki Lauda passes away at 70
Three-time Formula 1 World Champion Niki Lauda has passed away at the age of 70. The motor racing legend was battling kidney ailments.
Known as one of the best in the sport of motor racing, Lauda was an inspiration for many.
Here's more about his life.
A legend is no more!
Rest in peace Niki Lauda.— Formula 1 (@F1) May 21, 2019
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
Lauda will be known forever as a fighter
Lauda's health had declined rapidly since he was hospitalized earlier this year with influenza and underwent a lung transplant in 2018.
He will forever be known for his remarkable recovery and return to racing after suffering burns in a crash in the 1976 German Grand Prix.
He had collided with a barrier and his car went up in flames. But he managed to recover.
The race that had almost cost him his life
Lauda's worst moment saw him suffer third-degree burns to his head and face.
He had inhaled toxic gases that damaged his lungs after his car burst into flames at Nurburgring.
The celebrated racer, who was given the last rites in hospital, made an almost miraculous recovery and returned to racing 40 days later.
He was bandaged and had permanent facial scars.
Lauda's other major associations
Lauda had quit F1 at the end of 1979 to pursue his second passion, civil aviation.
But he came back to race in 1982 with McLaren and tasted success in 1984.
Meanwhile, after his career as a racing driver, Lauda became an airline entrepreneur.
Recently, he also became a non-executive chairman for Mercedes and was instrumental in bringing in British driver Lewis Hamilton.
Forever in our hearts!
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 pic.twitter.com/Ndd9ZEfm6B— McLaren (@McLarenF1) May 21, 2019
Lauda's family issues a statement
"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," a statement issued by his family read.
Lauda's rivalry with James Hunt in 1976 grabbed headlines
The 1976 season was also the one that highlighted his rivalry with James Hunt, who had gone on to win the title that year. The rivalry was portrayed in the 2013 Hollywood movie, Rush.
A look at Lauda's F1 career
Lauda won a total of 25 races in his career. He had 54 podium finishes under his belt, besides 24 pole positions. He debuted with the Austrian GP in 1971 and signed off in 1985 after the Australian GP.