FORMULA 1 legend Niki Lauda is set to get a "grave of honour" in the world's largest cemetery where famous composer Ludwig van Beethoven is also buried.

The three-time F1 world champion passed away peacefully in Vienna on Monday – eight months after undergoing a lung transplant.

The 70-year-old was admitted to hospital in January suffering from flu and British stars Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton led the tributes after his death.

Now, Vienna Mayor Michael Ludwig has offered Lauda's family the chance to bury the star in a grave of honour in the capital of Austria, and his hometown.

He said: "With the loss of Niki Lauda one of the great personalities of our city has left us.

"As a sportsman, as a business owner and as a human being he left his mark on the sporting world, the business world and in public life and not for a short time, but for decades."

For many, he was the sporting example that they looked up to and it was a figurehead for a generation

The Vienna Central Cemetery, which was created in 1863, initially awarded honoured musicians including Beethoven, Franz Schubert, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

It's since extended to popular local cartoonist Manfred Deix, folk music singer Udo Juergens and former Austrian journalist Gerd Bacher.

The decision on whether Lauda will be the latest star to receive the privilege is now down to his family, with a spokesman revealed they are yet to discuss the matter.

A spokesman for the mayor said: "Niki Lauda certainly should get an honorary grave, and Vienna is offering it.

"For many, he was the sporting example that they looked up to and it was a figurehead for a generation who showed with his enormous determination how it was possible to be a huge success.

"He was a Viennese world champion who will never be forgotten in his hometown or the world. Our sympathies are with his family and his relatives."


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