Photo Robert Marquardt/Getty Images via Daylife
Rafael Nadal was at the Barcelona Cathedral on Thursday to serve as a pall bearer at the funeral of Juan Antonio Samaranch. Samaranch was the former president of the International Olympic Committee and a beloved member of the Spanish sporting community. His coffin was draped in the Olympic flag and carried by Nadal and other Spanish sports stars, including synchronized swimmer Gemma Mengual, handball keeper David Barrufet and Wimbledon champ Manolo Santana. The funeral was attended by hundreds of people, including King Juan Carlos.
Via the ATP:
The Associated Press reported that Samaranch’s health deteriorated shortly after watching the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters final on TV. “He watched Nadal’s match – he loved tennis – and after the game he wasn’t feeling great so we decided to come (to the hospital) around 6 or 7 at night,” his son, Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr., told the Associated Press. “Then he collapsed. They stabilised him but he never came out. And that was the last time he was conscious.”
Rafael Nadal via his website:
I just received the news; Don Juan Antonio Samaranch has passed away. It’s a very sad day for Sports because Juan Antonio was Sports; he was one of the most important figures in Spanish sport as well as worldwide.
He was always very special to all athletes, and I can say this because personally, he was always very close and nice to me. He was a kind person who always showed me a lot of sympathy and support.
It is a great loss and we will miss him.
I will travel to Barcelona tomorrow to be with his family and the Spanish Sports family in this moment of grief and recognition.
Here are some photos of Rafael Nadal at the funeral: