23 Apr 2010

Funeral held for Samaranch

11:57 am on 23 April 2010

Juan Antonio Samaranch has been given a send-off resembling a state funeral in his native Barcelona, a day after the former International Olympic Committee president died at the age of 89.

King Juan Carlos and his family, current IOC president Jacques Rogge and high-profile figures from Spanish sport and politics were among the mourners.

Rafael Nadal, the world's number three tennis player, helped carry the coffin to the city cathedral.

The casket, draped in the Olympic flag, had earlier been placed in the chapel at the Catalan regional government's palace and hundreds of people filed past to pay their respects to the man who brought the Olympic Games to the port city in 1992.

After steering the Olympic movement through two turbulent decades, marked by political boycotts, bribery and drug scandals and a greater emphasis on commercialism, he was appointed honorary life president of the IOC when he stepped down as president in 2001.

Samaranch will be buried at the cemetery on the Montjuic hill near the stadium that was used for the 1992 Games.