Austrian F1 champion Niki Lauda dies aged 70

Three-time Formula One world champion Niki Lauda has died at the age of 70.

The former racing driver "passed away peacefully", his family said on Monday in a statement reported by the Austria Press Agency.

Tributes poured in for the Austrian, who was called a "legend" by British racing driver Jenson Button.

He tweeted: "A legend has left us. Rest in peace Niki."

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Lauda was also mourned by the McLaren Formula One team, who wrote: "All at McLaren are deeply saddened to learn that our friend, colleague and 1984 Formula 1 World Champion, Niki Lauda, has passed away.

"Niki will forever be in our hearts and enshrined in our history."

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Lauda narrowly escaped death in 1976 when his Ferrari crashed at the Nurburgring in Germany.

He made a miraculous recovery despite horrific burns and finished second in the championship to James Hunt.

He went on to win two of his three titles as well as becoming a prominent figure in the aviation industry.