Following his hospitalization at a Swiss clinic, Formula 1 legend and aviation entrepreneur Andreas Nikolaus ‘Niki’ Lauda has passed away surrounded by his family members.
As Lauda’s family confirmed in a touching statement, Niki has passed away at the age of 70 after going in for dialysis treatment following months after his lung transplant.
The renowned Formula 1 driver won the world championship with Ferrari in 1975 and 1977. He also won the 1984 Formula One World Championship with McLaren.
Niki, who is considered one of the finest F1 racers of all time, was badly burned during an accident at German Grand Prix back in 1976.
Much to the amazement of his fans, however, he made a quick recovery and returned to the track after awakening from a coma.
“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,” the racer recalled years after the shocking accident. “It was something like 800 degrees.”
“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.
While the F1 driver announced his retirement in 1979 because he wanted to focus on his airline, Lauda Air, he returned to the track in 1982 when McLaren hit him with a big-money offer.
The following year, the legend retired from racing for good and established a new airline, Niki, after Austrian Airlines took over Lauda Air.
The F1 driver also remained a vital part of the Formula 1 community and became the non-executive chairman of Mercedes team in 2012.
Following his death at the age of 70, his family wrote:
“With deep sadness, we announce that our beloved Niki has peacefully passed away with his family on Monday.
“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.”
Paying the respects to the late driver, Ferrari wrote: “Everyone at Ferrari is deeply saddened at the news of the death of our dear friend Niki Lauda.”
McLaren also joined and tweeted: “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.”
What are your thoughts on this news? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to SHARE this post with your friends and family!
“Fans mourn loss of Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee”