Schwarzenegger Gave Speech At Niki Lauda Funeral

This footage shows mourners lining out to say goodbye to F1 ace Niki Lauda as Arnold Schwarzenegger gave a speech at his funeral mass today. 

Video Credit: Golders

They queued up outside the St Stephen’s Cathedral in the Austrian capital Vienna to pay their respects as his coffin was carried inside.

The coffin was open for viewing until midday after which the front half of the cathedral was cleared of the public for a special mass.

The Austrian Formula 1 racing hero and aviation entrepreneur was then buried with full state honours wearing his Ferrari racing suit. His burial took place in the Neustifter Friedhof (Neustift Cemetery) in the Doebling borough, where his mother is buried.

A speech for Lauda was given by fellow Austrian Arnold Schwarzenegger who is currently in the country taking part in a climate conference. He told the congregation that Lauda had been a tremendous inspiration for him and said when he had been thinking of standing as governor of California, Lauda had simply told him: “Do it”.

He added that for him Lauda was not gone, but was rather more like a ship that had disappeared over the horizon and still existed even if you could no longer see it.

Also at the mass was Austrian President Alexander van der Bellen, recently ousted Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, Lewis Hamilton, Bernie Ecclestone, former Austrian F1 driver Gerhard Berger and Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff.

The coffin was put on display in the centre of the cathedral surrounded by laurel wreaths with two large pictures of the star either side, allowing fans to put file past.

Lauda’s widow Birgit put his racing helmet on top of the coffin before people were allowed to walk by the three-time F1 championship winner, who inside the coffin is already dressed in the Ferrari racing suit in which he will be buried.

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Picture Credit: Golders & Golders /Stanislav Jens

At 1pm, the Cathedral’s priest Tom Faber began a requiem to commemorate Lauda, and his children held an intercession for their deceased father in the cathedral, located at the heart of Vienna’s old town centre.

During the mass, Lauda’s favourite songs were played as well. Father Faber said: β€œHe loved Tracy Chapman’s song ‘Save us all’.”

There were 350 places reserved for invited guests at the front of the church and then at 2pm Lauda’s coffin was carried out of the cathedral by racing drivers before being driven to his final resting place.

Lauda died last week in his sleep in the University Hospital in Zurich, Switzerland, where he underwent dialysis treatment for kidney problems following a prolonged period of ill health.

Following Lauda’s infamous crash during the 1976 German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring where he suffered severe burns, damaged his lungs and escaped death by a whisker, he was frequently hospitalised.

He received kidney transplants in 1976 and 2005 (from his brother Florian and second wife Birgit respectively) as well as a lung transplant in Vienna in August last year.

With his first wife Marlene Knaus, who Lauda married in 1976 and divorced in 1991, he had two sons named Mathias and Lukas, as well as an illegitimate son called Christopher.

He had an estimated net worth of 250 million EUR (220.7 million GBP), made up of real estate, his salary as an F1 driver, frequent appearances in adverts, and his success as a businessman in the aviation industry.

It is not known how his estate will be divided among his relatives.


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Story By: Michael LeidigSub-EditorJoseph Golder, Agency: Golder’s News And Sport