Haider, who was governor of the region of Carinthia and leader of the far-right Alliance for Austria’s future, both charmed and horrified Austrians.
Political friends and foes like Chancellor Designate Werner Fyemann have also paid tribute:
“I was deeply shocked by the news of Joerg Haider’s death, he did a lot for Carinthia, and while he had his critics, its clear that he forged a path for Austrian politics over many years.”
Haider’s former colleague Heinz Christian Strache of the far-right Freedom Party became a political rival after the party’s split in 2005:
“Joerg Haider achieved a lot, he arrived on the political scene with a completely fresh approach, he was able to relate to people and to reach out to them. He contributed a lot to the cause of democracy in Austria, he was a big political figure whom you had to respect, even though we had our differences and went our separate ways politically in the end.”
Haider is survived by his wife, two daughters and his mother, whose 90th birthday he and his family had planned to celebrate over the weekend.