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Stunt driver who portrayed Niki Lauda in ‘Rush’ killed in car accident

Feb 16, 2014, 9:18 PM EDT

Niki Lauda, James Hunt AP

A veteran racer who portrayed three-time champion Niki Lauda in race driving scenes in last summer’s Formula One film “Rush,” has been killed in a car crash in Italy, according to the Daily Mail in the U.K.

Mauro Pane, 50, served as the primary stunt driving double for actor Daniel Bruhl, who portrayed Lauda in the film directed by Ron Howard.

Police discovered the bodies of Pane and an unidentified female in a submerged Renault in a canal near Gambolo in northern Italy, near Milan, according to the Daily Mail report.

An accomplished race car driver, Pane previously served as a test driver for the Minardi F1 team. He also won the 2008 Historic Formula One Championship in a six-wheeled Tyrrell P34.

Classic Grand Prix, the company that supplied the historic racing cars for “Rush” said in a statement, “We are devastated to have to announce the tragic death of one of our own, Mauro Pane. Racer, engineer, champion and a fantastic friend. RIP.”

Pane becomes the second driver associated with “Rush” to die in the last four months.

Sean Edwards, 26, died last Oct. 15 in a high-speed crash at Australia’s Queensland Raceway in Brisbane. Edwards was a passenger in a Porsche that lost control, crashed through a tire barrier and burst into flames. The driver, Will Holzheimer, is since recovering. per the Australian Courier Mail.

In “Rush,” Edwards portrayed his father Guy, a former F1 driver who pulled Lauda out of his burning Ferrari after a near-fatal crash at Germany’s Nurburgring in 1976.

Rush won Best Editing honors Sunday in the 62nd annual BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) Film Awards in London. The movie had been nominated for four awards, including Best Supporting Actor for Bruhl (as Lauda) and Best British Film.

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