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Three Time F1 champion passes away at 70 — Niki Lauda

Three Time F1 champion passes away at 70 — Niki Lauda

"I will miss our conversations, our laughs, the big hugs after winning races together", Hamilton said on Twitter.

"The motorsports world has lost its greatest fighter". It said that Lauda "passed peacefully in his sleep surrounded by his closest family at the university clinic in Zurich". God rest your soul.

"Dear Niki, thank you for everything that you did for me", Rosberg wrote.

Lauda won world titles in 1975, 1977 and 1984 - the latter two successes coming after he returned to the sport following a near-fatal crash at the 1976 German Grand Prix. But Lauda and Hunt were good friends, despite turning merciless toward each other when they were behind the wheel. He was eminently quotable all the time.

He is survived by his wife and five children.

'You will remain forever in our hearts and in those of the fans'.

He added: "Niki had a degree of bravery that I had never seen the like of before".

"It's finished. I live today and think of tomorrow".

Formula One has been rocked by the death of legendary driver Niki Lauda, age 70.

Lauda quit Formula One at the end of 1979 to pursue his second passion, civil aviation.

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"A very sad day for the entire motorsport community".

He also faked his high school diploma in order to get parental approval to begin car racing.

He took part in his first F1 race in 1971 at the Austrian Grand Prix but had to retire due to mechanical problems.

"He'd suffered inhalation of toxic fumes from the burning fibreglass".

"It was only after two or three days that the story came out that it was the lung damage that was the injury putting his life in danger. #RIPNiki", Lauda's former team tweeted. Niki's spirit and his legacy will live on forever.

Lauda and Prost drove together for two seasons for the McLaren team in 1984-85. He also served as a non-executive chairman of Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix.

Instead he covered much of them with a baseball cap that became his trademark, charging sponsors to put their logo on it.

On Twitter, Mercedes-AMG F1 shared an image of Lauda with a heart symbol and the words: "Niki, 1949 - 2019".

"Your passing leaves an enormous void inside me", former Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo said in a statement. Shockingly, he missed only two races as a result. As a team-mate over the past six and a half years, Niki was always brutally honest - and utterly loyal.

"The impact was so hard that the helmet was ripped off my head", he said of the crash. "All our thoughts go to his family". "He was thoughtful, he was intelligent, he was pragmatic and he just got the job done". His unique achievements as an athlete and entrepreneur, his tireless zest for action, his straightforwardness and his courage remain. He was an exceptionally talented racing driver and a real inspiration as a businessman. "He was a loving and caring husband, father, and grandfather away from the public".