Vienna General Hospital has confirmed that three-time Formula 1 world champion Niki Lauda underwent a successful lung transplant on Thursday after being diagnosed with "severe lung disease".

Lauda, 69, was last present in the F1 paddock at the British Grand Prix early last month as part of his non-executive chairman role at Mercedes, but was confirmed on Thursday to have undergone surgery.

"Due to a severe lung disease, Niki Lauda had to undergo a lung transplantation at the AKH Vienna today," a statement from Vienna General Hospital reads.

"The transplantation was successfully performed by Walter Klepetko, Head of the Clinical Department of Thoracic Surgery, and Konrad Hötzenecker.

"We ask for your understanding that the family will not make any public statements and request the privacy of the Lauda family."

Lauda is reported by the Osterreich newspaper to have cut short a family holiday in Ibiza last week to return to Austria before being admitted to hospital.

Lauda won his first F1 world title with Ferrari in 1975 before suffering life-threatening injuries in an accident at the Nürburgring one year later, only to return to racing six weeks later. Lauda won his second title in 1977 before completing his hat-trick in 1984 with McLaren.

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