A tribute has been paid to Niki Lauda, a three-time Formula 1 world champion who died at the age of 70.

The Austrian woman underwent a double lung transplant last year and was hospitalized with pneumonia earlier this year. In a statement to the Austrian media, her family said: “It is with deep sadness that we announce that our beloved Niki died peacefully with his family on Monday.

“His unique achievements as an athlete and entrepreneur are and will remain unforgettable, his tireless enthusiasm for action, his frankness and courage remain.

Ferrari, with which Lauda won two titles, tweet that the Austrian “will remain forever in our hearts”.

Born in Vienna, Austria, Lauda began competing with a Mini, under the disapproval of his wealthy family. He soon joined the single-seat Formula V series, and also raced in sports cars. He took out a bank loan to secure a car trip in March in Formula 2 in 1971, and made his Formula 1 debut with the team in their home race that season. The following year, he drove full-time for the team and, after a season at the BRM, his career took off with a move to Ferrarifor 1974.

Lauda got her first victory in Spain that year, adding a second in the Dutch Grand Prix. He lost the title, but dominated the following season in the Ferrari 312T, winning five races on his way to the world championship.

Lauda was leading the points midway through the following season, when he crashed heavily in the German Grand Prix at Nordschleife. He was saved by rival drivers who dragged him from his burning carbut, suffered third-degree burns to his head and face, and inhaled toxic gases that damaged his lungs. A priest gave him the last rites at the hospital.

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