Three-time Formula One champion Niki Lauda, who turned 69 earlier this year, was hospitalized in Austria for a “severe cough” recently and wound up getting a lung transplant. He’s recovering, according to a statement from the hospital, which also said he’s “improved continuously” since the surgery. Lauda, who’s now a non-executive chairperson of the Mercedes F1 team and is said to have had a big role in helping sign reigning champion Lewis Hamilton, has been in the Vienna general hospital since at least last week, with the hospital saying surgery took place on Aug. 2. Lauda’s still there, and CNN reports that his organs are “functioning well” since the transplant and that breathing tubes have been removed from his airways. A statement from the hospital quoted by CNN said 24 hours after the surgery, Lauda was “spontaneously breathing and had full consciousness.” “During the following days his condition has further improved continuously,” the hospital statement said, as quoted by CNN. “Mr. Lauda will stay at the Vienna General Hospital until his full recovery.” An Austrian newspaper, Österreich, reported early on that Lauda was on a holiday in Ibiza when he got a lung infection. The paper reported that he flew back to Vienna to go to the hospital, and other early reports said it was a severe case of the flu. The hospital trip turned into a lung transplant, which Lauda’s now recovering from. Lauda drove in F1 during the 1970s and ‘80s, winning his first championship in 1975 before… [Read full story]
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