Mercedes’ non-executive chairman and former Formula 1 world champion Niki Lauda underwent a successful lung transplant on Thursday.

The 69-year-old has been missing from the last two grand prix events and had to be hospitalised in Vienna while holidaying in Ibiza. Some Austrian local news outlets reported that he spent some days in the intensive care unit as well.

It said, he had kidney issues after catching severe flu but all seemed fine after that, as he was shifted to the normal ward. However, a statement from Vienna General Hospital confirms that Lauda had a lung transplant earlier in the day.

The statement from the hospital read: “Due to a severe lung disease, Niki Lauda had to undergo a lung transplantation at the Vienna General Hospital today. The transplantation was successfully performed by Walter Klepetko, Head of the Clinical Department of Thoracic Surgery, and Konrad Hotzenecker.

“We ask for your understanding that the family will not make any public statements and request the privacy of the Lauda family.” The three-time F1 champion has been on the road since the 2012 season when he signed up for the Mercedes non-executive chairman role.

He is also one of the shareholders of the team. The Austrian played a crucial role in roping in Lewis Hamilton from McLaren to Mercedes in the 2013 season. He also has a movie named ‘Rush’ made on him and James Hunt, depicting their rivalry in the 1976 season – the same year when Lauda had the horrific incident in Germany.