Three-time Austrian Formula One champion and former team boss Niki Lauda died Monday, according to media reports. He was 70.
According to a statement by Lauda's family, the racing legend "peacefully passed away with his family."
“His unique achievements as an athlete and entrepreneur are and will remain unforgettable, his tireless zest for action, his straightforwardness and his courage remain,” the family said in the statement. “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 was a three-time world champion, winning titles for Ferrari in 1975, 1977, and for McLaren in 1984. He was the only driver to win championships for McLaren and Ferrari.
Lauda was badly burned in a crash in the 1976 German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring that heavily scarred his face and head and led to Lauda's signature caps, sometimes sold to sponsors. Ultimately, Lauda only missed two races due to the crash despite being in a coma and he finished second in the championship that year.
Lauda retired twice from F1, the first time in 1979, when he left to lead his own small airline service in Austria. Lauda returned to F1 in 1982 and retired again in 1985. Lauda owned and sold airline carriers several times.
Ferrari tabbed Lauda to help run its F1 team from 1993 until 2001, and he briefly ran Jaguar Formula One until 2002. Mercedes AMG Petronas named Lauda a non-executive chairman in 2012, and he was widely credited with bringing current F1 champion Lewis Hamilton to the team. Lauda was also an F1 commentator for roughly 20 years.
Last August, Lauda received a double lung transplant. He also received kidney transplants in 2005 and 1997.
Lauda's rivalry with driver James Hunt and his career at Ferrari was most recently dramatized in the film "Rush."