Hundreds attend funeral of gored bullfighter in Spain

Iain Sullivan
Associated Press

Sepulveda, Spain — Hundreds of people joined family, friends and members of Spain’s bullfighting world for a funeral Mass on Monday for bullfighter Victor Barrio who was fatally gored in a bullring this past weekend.

People applauded and shouted “torero, torero” as the coffin was carried from a hearse to a packed San Bartolome church in the central town of Sepulveda where Barrio lived.

The 29-year-old matador died after being gored in the thigh and chest in the central city of Teruel on Saturday. The goring was broadcast live on television and news of his death stirred widespread reaction across Spain. King Felipe VI and acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy expressed condolences.

Medics were at Barrio’s side almost immediately but he died later in the bullring’s infirmary.

He was the first professional matador to die during a bullfight in Spain since 21-year-old Frenchman Jose Cubero Yiyo was fatally gored in 1985 in Madrid.

His wife, Raquel Sanz, was at the ring when the goring happened.

In messages on her official Twitter account Sunday, Sanz thanked those who had expressed condolences and said, “My life has gone, I have no strength.’”

Prominent members of the bullfighting world were among those attending the Mass.

“Today you can see it, everybody is here, all the bullfighting world — to put our arms around a destroyed family, and to acknowledge the valor, the commitment and all the values that Victor Barrio had as a person and as a bullfighter,” matador Enrique Ponce told reporters.

Fellow bullfighter and a friend of Barrio’s, Esau Fernandez, said, “The words don’t come out. He was a good friend, he was a colleague, we grew up together.”

Festivities in Teruel were immediately suspended following Barrio’s death, and Las Ventas, the Madrid bullring were he debuted in 2010, posted a heartfelt remembrance of the young bullfighter.