Formula One legend Niki Lauda undergoes successful lung transplant - hospital

Niki Lauda, seen ahead of the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix in June, had a lung transplant on August 2 but the surgeon who performed the operation indicated he should be able to leave hospital within weeks and resume normal activities

Three-time Formula One world champion Niki Lauda has undergone a lung transplant following an infection picked up on vacation, Vienna's general hospital announced Thursday.

"The transplant was successfully carried out," said a brief statement from the hospital.

Lauda, 69, had cut short his vacation in Ibiza last week and returned to Vienna after developing a lung infection, the Osterreich newspaper reported.

Crowned world champion for the first time in 1975, Lauda cheated death the following year in a horror crash at the German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring which left him with severe burns.

Despite that, he would still capture further world titles in 1977 and 1984.

Lauda, who also required kidney transplants in 1997 and 2005, is the father of four children from two marriages -- Lukas (39), Mathias (37) and eight-year-old twins Max and Mia.

Lauda, who is still heavily involved in Formula One as non-executive president of world champions Mercedes, also once founded his own airline.

Formula One legend Niki Lauda