Niki Lauda is recovering in Vienna

Three-time Formula 1 world champion Niki Lauda is recovering in hospital after a lung transplant. The 69-year-old Austrian had been suffering from “severe lung disease”, Vienna General Hospital said in a statement.

“Because of a severe lung condition, Niki Lauda had to undergo a lung transplant in Vienna General Hospital today,” read the statement.

He had cut short a holiday in Ibiza last week and returned to Vienna after developing a lung infection, the Osterreich newspaper reported. Lauda was admitted for a lung transplant and it has been reported that the transplant was successful.

Lauda, who also required kidney transplants in 1997 and 2005, is the father of four children from two marriages โ€“ Lukas (39), Mathias (37) and eight-year-old twins Max and Mia.

Lauda won three world drivers’ titles in 1975, 1977 and 1984 with Ferrari and McLaren, with 54 podium finishes in his Formula 1 career.

In 1976, Lauda crashed into an embankment at the Nurburgring circuit in Germany. As flames engulfed his car, Lauda had to be rescued by his fellow drivers but despite suffering horrific burns and being given the last rites, he returned behind the wheel six weeks later.

He was appointed as Mercedesโ€™ non-executive chairman in 2012 and was involved in the signing of Lewis Hamilton to the team.

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