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Formula 1 Icon Niki Lauda, 70, Passes Away

Niki Lauda, a three-time Formula 1 world champion famous for his near-death crash at Nurburgring in 1976 (followed by his return to the racetrack 40 days later) and subsequent F1 championship in 1977, died Monday. Lauda was 70.

The Austrian racing icon died from failing health that doctors traced back to the severe burns and inhaled toxic fumes suffered in the 1976 German Grand Prix. Lauda is revered for his quick recovery and courageous return to the racetrack so quickly after his near-fatal accident.

“Niki will always remain one of the greatest legends of our sport – he combined heroism, humanity and honesty inside and outside the cockpit.

“His passing leaves a void in Formula 1. We haven’t just lost a hero who staged the most remarkable comeback ever seen, but also a man who brought precious clarity and candor to modern Formula 1. He will be greatly missed as our voice of common sense,” said Mercedes Racing Team Principal Toto Wolff in a BBC article. “Our Mercedes team has also lost a guiding light. As a teammate over the past six and a half years, Niki was always brutally honest—and utterly loyal. It was a privilege to count him among our team and moving to witness just how much it meant to him to be part of the team’s success.”

To read more about Lauda’s incredible recovery and remarkable life as a figurehead in F1, check out:

Niki Lauda: Tributes paid after F1 legend dies aged 70 (BBC)

Niki Lauda, Three-Time Formula 1 World Driving Champion, Dies at 70 (Car and Driver)

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