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Formula 1 Champ Niki Lauda Has Died

Three-time Formula 1 world champ Niki Lauda has died. He was 70.

Lauda's family said he passed away peacefully on Monday, after suffering kidney problems.

The Austrian driver won the F1 drivers' championship in 1975, 1977 and 1984 and is considered one of the all-time greats.

"Niki Lauda was more than a true giant of Formula 1. He was an absolute trailblazer in an era when the sport was its best and, unfortunately too often, worst," Network 10 Head of Sport Matt White said.

"Lauda was tough, smart and an amazing talent. His ability to overcome the odds after the crash of 1976 was incredible. To simply race again was amazing... to win again was the stuff of legend.

"In the same year Formula 1 has lost Charlie Whiting, Lauda’s passing will be deeply felt.”

Lauda would likely have won three straight F1 drivers' titles if not for that crash in 1976. Incredibly, he returned for the last four races of the season to try and stop the title surge of James Hunt. He failed by just one point.

Lauda's family issued a statement in response to his passing, which read in part:

With deep sadness, we announce that our beloved Niki has peacefully passed away with his family on Monday, May 20.

His unique achievements as an athlete and entrepreneur are and will remain unforgettable, his tireless zest for action, his straightforwardness and his courage remain 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 in 1984, the year of his third F1 title. (Photo by Bernard BAKALIAN/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Lauda became an aviation entrepreneur after his F1 career, who founded and ran three airlines, including Lauda Air.

More to come.