Glowing tributes pour in for Niki Lauda

Sajith B Warrier

Bengaluru, May 21: Glowing tributes poured in for three-time Formula One world champion Niki Lauda, who passed away after battling battling declining health.

Lauda, who was hospitalised in January for about 10 days while suffering from influenza and had a lung transplant last August, died on Monday (May 20), his family said in a statement.

He is credited for helping bring five-times F1 champion Lewis Hamilton to the team from McLaren.

Lauda's death rocked the F1 community days before the Monaco Grand Prix, the jewel in the circuit's racing calendar.

"All at McLaren are deeply saddened to learn that our friend, colleague and 1984 Formula 1 World Champion, Niki Lauda, has passed away," the team tweeted.

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

British former F1 champion Jenson Button, who won a title with Brawn GP in 2009, tweeted: "A legend has left us. Rest in peace Niki."

Two-time MotoGP world champion Casey Stoner also paid rich tributes.

"RIP Niki Lauda, a true Icon and Motorsport legend. Thoughts are with his family and loved ones at this time, " the Australian tweeted.

The sport's governing body -- Formula One -- too tweeted from their official handle.

"Forever carried in our hearts, forever immortalised in our history. The motorsport community today mourns the devastating loss of a true legend.

The thoughts of everyone at F1 are with his friends and family."

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