Legendary three-time Formula 1 racer, Niki Lauda, 70, breathed his last after a brief bout of illness. Lauda had won the championship in 1975, 1977 and again in 1984.
However more than his feat behind the wheels, Lauda is perhaps known more for the remarkable manner in which he came back after a devastating accident that almost led the doctors to give up on him. That was in 1975 when he had suffered third degree burns to his face and head after his car caught fire post a crash in Nürburgring while inhaling toxic fumes also damaged his lungs badly.
Lauda had undergone a lung transplant and had returned to racing just 40 days later while he was still bandaged. He went on to win the championship the very next year, followed by reclaiming the title again in 1984.
Lauda had also undergone two kidney transplants as well, the last one back in 2005 which again was donated by his then girlfriend Birgit Wetzinger. The Austrian later married Wetzinger, an ex-flight attendant in 2008. Lauda had a twin from this marriage in 2009 besides fathering three other children from previous relationships.
Lauda has been working as an airline entrepreneur post his racing career while his most recent assignments included joining the Formula 1 Mercedes team as a non-executive chairman.