‘The biggest comeback in sport’: Tributes paid to ‘true icon’ Niki Lauda

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'The biggest comeback in sport': Tributes paid to 'true icon' Niki Lauda

Tributes have poured in from the world of motor racing and beyond following the death of Formula 1 great Niki Lauda.

The Austrian’s former teams McLaren and Ferrari and former F1 champion Jenson Button were among those hailing the “true legend” who died on Monday aged 70, less than a year after undergoing a lung transplant.

Formula 1 said Lauda was “forever immortalised in our history” following his incredible return to racing after a horrific near-fatal crash at the 1976 German Grand Prix.

McLaren said it was “deeply saddened” by the death of Lauda who won the 1984 F1 championship with the team.

And Ferrari, who celebrated winning the F1 drivers’ championship in 1975 and 1977 with Lauda, said he would “remain forever in our hearts”.

Button, the 2009 F1 champion and former McLaren driver, posted an image of Lauda with the caption: “RIP Niki.”

Nico Rosberg, the 2016 F1 champion, posted a heartfelt tribute to Lauda, praising his “passion” and “fighting spirit”.

He added: “Myself and all of your 100 million fans around the world whom you also so strongly inspired to never give up in the hardest of times are thinking of you and your family and wish that you rest in peace.”

F1 star Romain Grosjean said a “legend is gone” following Lauda’s death.

Former F1 driver Giedo van der Garde said Lauda was “not only a huge inspiration with the biggest comeback in sport so far, but a unique personality as well”.

Ex-British F1 driver and Sky Sports analyst Johnny Herbert said Lauda’s death was “a real loss to sport” and left “a big hole in our hearts”.

Away from Formula 1, two-time MotoGP world champion Casey Stoner described Lauda as a “true icon and motorsport legend”.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said Lauda was a “role model” who “fought his way back to life several times”.

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