Daniel Bruhl, who starred as Niki Lauda in 2013 movie Rush, has paid tribute to the Formula 1 world champion following his death on Monday.
The 40-year-old actor shared a picture of Austrian driver Lauda, who forged a successful career as an airline entrepreneur after his racing days, sitting in the cockpit of a plane on his Instagram page, and wrote: “The bravest man, I’ve ever met, not only because he was an F1 World Champion in the crazy 70’s and had the most incredible comeback in sport’s history, but also because of how he treated people. Always honest, straight forward, blunt. Niki told you the truth in your face, no matter how uncomfortable. He was totally unpretentious and incredibely (sic) funny. I learned a lot from him and deeply admired him. I know how much you enjoyed flying. Race the sky in peace immortal Champ, we’ll miss you. Mach’s gut Niki.”
Lauda took home the Formula 1 World Drivers’ Championship title in 1975 and 1977 for Ferrari and in 1984 for McLaren.
However, his reign at the top was interrupted in 1976 after he had a near-fatal car crash during the German Grand Prix, leaving him with third-degree burns to his head and face. He also inhaled toxic gases which damaged his lungs, but returned to the racing track, still bandaged, just 40 days later.
Rush director Ron Howard, whose film focused on the rivalry between Lauda and British driver James Hunt (played by Chris Hemsworth), also paid tribute to the late legend.
Alongside a snap of himself posing with the sportsman, Howard wrote: “RIP the Great #NikiLauda. Here’s our last meeting in #MonteCarlo in ‘18 We first met while making the movie Rush. The F1 world knows of his grit & intensely competitive spirit, but that matched w/his keen intelligence & wisdom made him a distinctively remarkable man. a force.”
Lauda, born Andreas Nikolaus Lauda, “passed away peacefully” on Monday, according to a statement released by his family. His passing comes just eight months after he underwent a lung transplant.
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