Three-Time F1 Champion Niki Lauda Released From Hospital Nearly Three Months After Lung Transplant

Niki Lauda at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in April.
Niki Lauda at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in April.
Photo: Mark Thompson (Getty Images)

Niki Lauda, hospitalized for a “severe cough” and illness while on vacation just a few days before, underwent a lung transplant in Austria around the beginning of August. Nearly three months later, reports are that the hospital released him to undergo “intensive rehabilitation” over the next few weeks.

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Motorsport.com reports that the Vienna hospital confirmed Lauda’s release and rehabilitation plans, saying he’ll still get help from the hospital’s lung-transplant team and the Medical University of Vienna now that he’s out.

Lauda, a three-time Formula One champion and non-executive chairperson of the Mercedes F1 team who is now 69 years old, was visiting Ibiza a few months ago when reports came out that he got a lung infection. Motorsport.com reports that doctors said early on the lung complications didn’t have to do with Lauda’s near-fatal fiery crash in the 1976 German Grand Prix, which damaged his lungs with smoke and severely burned areas of his body.

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Lauda was visiting Ibiza a few months ago when reports came out that he got a lung infection and flew to Austria to get it checked out. He had complications in the hospital and got a lung transplant on Aug. 2, CNN reported, and the hospital said his organs were “functioning well” after the surgery and that his breathing tubes were removed. About 24 hours after the transplant, a hospital statement said Lauda was “spontaneously breathing and had full consciousness.”

That same statement said Lauda would stay in the Vienna hospital “until his full recovery,” which took several months. Motorsport.com didn’t say where the rehabilitation would happen now that he’s out, but ESPN reports that Lauda’s doctors will have a news conference on Thursday.

Having Niki Lauda in this world is good, and it’s also good that he’s hopefully planning to stick around a little while longer.

Staff writer, Jalopnik

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DISCUSSION

Different countries have different rules, but please consider registering as an organ donor, and talk to your family about it. Lauda only got a lung transplant because somebody else agreed to be a donor. Many others suffer or die because there aren’t enough donors.

You can save lives. You.