Three-time Formula One champion Niki Lauda is recovering in hospital after undergoing a lung transplant last week with all his organs “functioning well.”
The 69-year-old had been suffering from “severe lung disease,” according to the Vienna General Hospital, and had surgery on August 2 after flying home from a holiday in Ibiza.
The latest update on the Austrian’s health, however, is positive, with breathing tubes having been removed from his airways.
“Already 24 hours after surgery Mr Lauda could be extubated, was spontaneously breathing and had full consciousness,” reads a statement from the hospital.
“During the following days his condition has further improved continuously. Mr Lauda will stay at the Vienna General Hospital until his full recovery.”
Lauda won F1 titles with Ferrari and McLaren in 1975, 1977 and 1984. He currently serves as a chairman of Mercedes and owns 10% of the team.
“Sending you all my love, prayers and support, Niki. Wishing you a speedy recovery,” wrote reigning F1 champion Lewis Hamilton on Instagram.
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, meanwhile, also shared his support.
“The world knows Niki as an F1 legend with incredible power and resilience,” he said. “For all of us at Mercedes he is our chairman, our mentor and our friend.
“The recovery he faces is not a race, but I’m sure he will soon be telling every nurse and doctor that he has had enough of hospital.
“We wish him a safe and speedy recovery — in that order — and send all our positive energy to him and his family. I miss you my friend.”
Lauda experienced a serious crash at the 1976 German Grand Prix, inhaling toxic fumes and suffering horrific burns after a collision with a barrier that caused his car to be engulfed in flames.
He returned to racing just six weeks later and went on to win two more championship titles.