Austrian Formula One legend Niki Lauda has died at age 70, a family spokeswoman said in a statement.

The three-time world champion received a lung transplant last year and was hospitalised with the flu in January.

Lauda’s head was badly burned in a fiery crash at the German Grand Prix in 1976 and his lungs were damaged by toxic smoke.

The statement said in part:

“With deep sadness, we announce that our beloved Niki has peacefully passed away with his family on Monday,” his family said in 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, he was a loving and caring husband, father and grandfather away from the public, and he will be missed.”

Advertisement
Advertisement

Lauda won the world drivers’ championship in 1975, 1977 and 1984.