Formula One legend Niki Lauda, the three-time world champion has died at the age of 70, his family confirmed.
Eight months after receiving lung transplantation, he passed away overnight on Monday. The statement released by the family read,” With deep sadness, we announce that our beloved Niki has peacefully passed away with his family on Monday. “
It also paid tribute to “his unique achievements as an athlete and an entrepreneur” and said “his tireless zest for action, his straightforwardness, and his courage remain a role model and benchmark for all of us. He was a loving and caring husband, father and grandfather away from the public and he will be missed.”
Lauda won three world titles in 1975, 1977 and 1984 with Mercedes and Ferrari.
More than four decades ago he met with a terrific crash during a race and had struggled with health problems thereafter. At the accident, his Ferrari went up in flame and it took 55 seconds to pull him out of the car. He was given the last rites in the hospital, but later after he was recovered he said, “But I did not want to die. I wanted to go on living.”
He did not only go on living but went on to compete again to win more titles and laurels. Just after six weeks of his near-fatal crash, Lauda was behind the wheels and took fourth place in the Italian Grand Prix in Monza.
For many, he will be remembered for his remarkable recovery after the crushing incident and his spirit of competition. A new generation of fans was introduced to Niki Lauda in the famous 2013 film Rush which retailed his rivalry with the British driver James Hunt.