Motor racing legend Niki Lauda underwent a “successful” lung transplant surgery in Austria on Thursday.
According to reports the three-time World Champion took ill while on a recent holiday in Ibiza.
While initially treated for a bad cough, later reports suggested the Austrian, a non-executive director with Mercedes, was suffering with severe flu.
However, the Vienna General Hospital has now released a statement saying Lauda has in fact undergone a lung transplant.
A statement from the Vienna General Hospital said: “Due to a severe affection of the lungs, Niki Lauda had to undergo a lung transplantation at the AKH Vienna today.
“The transplantation was done successfully by Walter Klepetko, head of thoracic surgery, and Konrad Hotzenecker.
“We kindly ask for your understanding that the family won’t give any official statements and we ask to protect the privacy of the Lauda family.”
Lauda was badly burned in a near-fatal Formula One crash in 1976 and suffered lung injuries.
He returned to the cockpit three races later, adding the 1977 and 1984 World titles to his 1975 glory.