Formula One great Niki Lauda has lung transplant

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Austrian media outlet ORF says that while the surgery was successful, the three-time Formula 1 champion is now in critical condition.

One day after it was revealed that Niki Lauda had been hospitalized for contracting a supposed influenza virus, news has broken that the Austrian underwent a lung transplant on Thursday in Vienna.

"The transplantation was successfully performed by Walter Klepetko, Head of the Clinical Department of Thoracic Surgery, and Konrad Hötzenecker. We ask for your understanding that the family will not make any public statements and request the privacy of the Lauda family". He suffered serious burns in a fiery crash at the German Grand Prix in 1976. The incident left him with severe scarring, and the gases inhaled while he was burning alive inside the vehicle weakened his lungs.

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He was appointed as Mercedes' non-executive chairman in 2012 and was involved in the signing of Lewis Hamilton to the team. Additionally, he even owns a stake in the reigning constructor champions.

Lauda, who recently sold his airline Laudamotion to Ryanair, is now non-executive chairman and a shareholder in the Mercedes AMG F1 Team.

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