Formula One great Niki Lauda has lung transplant

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Austrian motor racing great Niki Lauda has had a successful lung transplant in Vienna, the hospital that treated him said on Thursday.

Lauda, who was badly burned in a near-fatal Formula One crash in 1976 and later became an airline entrepreneur, was taken ill recently. Austrian media had said he was being treated in hospital, though reports had not mentioned a transplant.

“Because of a severe lung condition Niki Lauda had to undergo a lung transplant in Vienna General Hospital today, the hospital said in a statement posted on its website. “The transplant was carried out successfully.”

Lauda, 69, won three Formula One world championships and his rivalry with British driver James Hunt was the subject of the film “Rush”. He recently agreed to sell control of his Laudamotion airline to Ryanair.

Lauda is also a team boss and shareholder of the Mercedes Formula One team.

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