Three-time Formula 1 World Champion Niki Lauda has passed away, aged 70.
The Austrian underwent a lung transplant in August last year which required a two month stay in hospital and he has been battling with health issues since.
In a statement issued to Austrian media, his family said: “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.”
Lauda’s no nonsense approach to the sport led to him becoming one of the most recognisable figures in the sport’s history.
His Formula 1 debut came in 1971 when he drove for March and he achieved his first win in 1974 whilst driving for Ferrari.
He took his first title in 1975 and he was lucky to survive a horrendous crash at the Nurburgring a year later.
In what was one of the most remarkable returns in F1 history, Lauda only missed two races despite having serious burns and damage to his lungs after the crash. He went on to finish fourth on his return at the Italian Grand Prix.
Lauda missed out on the 1976 title by one point to James Hunt but the Austrian returned the following year to take his second world championship.
His rivalry with James Hunt in 1976 was the subject of the film, Rush in 2013.
He went on to win his third title whilst racing for McLaren 1984.
Lauda retired from driving in 1985 but he was unable to stay away from the paddock. He worked as an advisor for Ferrari in the 1990’s before becoming Team Principal at Jaguar in 2001. However, his tenure at Jaguar did not last long, and he left a year later.
In 2012 he joined Mercedes as non-executive chairman and was a key figure at the team until his illness last year.