Niki Lauda, three-time Formula 1 world champion and current non-executive chairman of the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team, has undergone a lung transplant.
The Vienna General Hospital says the operation was performed Thursday because of a “serious lung illness.” It didn’t give more specific details in a brief statement and said the 69-year-old Austrian’s family would make no public comment.
Lauda won the Formula 1 driver’s championship in 1975 and 1977 with Ferrari, and in 1984 with McLaren.
He suffered serious burns in a fiery crash at the German Grand Prix in 1976, but returned to racing only six weeks later at the Italian Grand Prix. Lauda has twice undergone kidney transplants, in 1997 and 2005.
Lauda was appointed as Mercedes’ non-executive chairman in 2012, a role he has held ever since, and was involved in the signing of Lewis Hamilton to the F1 team.
“Such a massive gut punch on Saturday,” Dean Wilson wrote on Instagram on Tuesday. “Just as I was gaining good momentum riding well, feeling good and chasing my first win things turned in the blink of an eye.”
With that post, Wilson announced that he will be out for the remainder of the Supercross season, which includes races at East Rutherford, N.J. and Las Vegas, Nev. An MRI earlier in the week revealed a shoulder injury. He also sustained damage to his kidney in a Lap 8 accident while he was running in the top 10.
Wilson’s injuries will not require surgery.
Wilson’s season began with a lot of promise. Earning the holeshot in the season-opening race at Anaheim, Wilson led for a time before narrowly missing the podium in fourth.
Two weeks later, Wilson finished fifth overall in the Triple Crown event of Anaheim II. Those are his only top-fives of the season.
“The tough part of this is I have been trying so hard this year to be back where I need to be trying to get a job for next year,” Wilson continued.
Next Race: East Rutherford April. 27, on NBCSN and on NBC Sports Gold
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