Droves Await Schwarzenegger Speech At Niki Lauda Funeral

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

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

Credit: Golders
Niki Lauda’s funeral

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

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

A speech for Lauda will be given by fellow Austrian Arnold Schwarzenegger who is currently in the country taking part in a climate conference. Also at the mass will be 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.

At 1pm, the Cathedral’s priest Tom Faber will start with a requiem to commemorate Lauda, which is to be attended by Lewis Hamilton and Bernie Ecclestone.

Credit: Golders
Niki Lauda’s funeral

Lauda’s children will hold an intercession for their deceased father in the cathedral which is at the heart of Vienna’s old town centre.

Austria’s President Alexander Van der Bellen will also deliver a eulogy in the church for the man who was considered to be one of the greatest Austrian sportsmen and public figures who ever lived.

During the mass, Lauda’s favourite songs will be played as well.

Father Faber said: “He loved Tracy Chapman’s song ‘Save us all’.”

There are 350 places reserved for invited guests at the front of the church, so those who want to witness the ceremony should arrive early to snag the other places at the back.

At 2pm, Lauda’s coffin will be 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.

Credit: Golders/Stanislav Jens
Niki Lauda’s funeral

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.

To find out more about the author, editor or agency that supplied this story – please click below.
Story By: Michael LeidigSub-EditorJoseph Golder, Agency: Golder’s News And Sport

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