By email@example.com (Michael Fira)
Niki Lauda, one of Formula 1's genuine heroes that survived the deadly '70s to start his own airline company and, in recent years, be a key figure behind Mercedes-AMG Petronas' success story in Formula 1 has died at the age of 70 on Monday, May 20th, 2019. The Austrian, born in Vienna in 1949, won 25 Formula 1 Grand Prix races out of 171 starts and became World Driver's Champion three times: in 1974 and 1977 for Ferrari and, again, in 1984 for McLaren. But his legacy is far greater than his sporting results for, behind the numbers, Lauda was one of the sport's shrewdest, toughest, but also most calculated and clever competitors. He carried those qualities in every area of his life, combining them with a uniquely straightforward attitude. Monday, millions of racing fans across the globe woke up to the news that Niki Lauda was no longer with us due to complications that arose from a lung transplant as well as resurging kidney problems. Lauda underwent two kidney transplant surgeries, in 1997 and in 2005, and, last year, he underwent a successful lung transplant in the hometown of Vienna. His rehabilitation seemed to be going well, and he even spent the winter holidays in Ibiza with members of his family, but a bout of pneumonia saw Lauda return in intensive care. More recently, he'd been undergoing dialysis at the University Hospital of Zurich, in Switzerland.