AFP, VIENNA - Austrian far-right leader Joerg Haider died in a road accident Saturday, APA news agency reported quoting the police.
"The governor of Carinthia and leader of the BZOe (Alliance for Austria's Future) Joerg Haider died after a car accident early Saturday in Klagenfurt", the capital of his home state, the agency said.
Haider, 58, was at the wheel of his official car in the south of Klagenfurt when it veered off the road for unknown reasons.
He suffered serious injuries to his head and chest and died shortly after the accident, APA added.
Haider, Austria's most notorious post-war politician, headed the Alliance for Austria's Future after turning the country's Freedom Party (FPOe) into a political force in the 1980s and 1990s and prompting EU sanctions against Austria in 2000.
Perpetually tanned, athletic and stylish, he transformed from a young firebrand to an experienced politician in the past decade, helping his young BZOe party, only founded in 2005, to its best result in general elections held last month.
Media-savvy he never stayed out of the limelight for long, offering to mediate hostage crises in North Africa with his good friend Seif al-Islam, the son of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, and forcibly removing bilingual street signs in Carinthia, which has a strong Slovenian minority.
Haider became involved with the youth wing of the FPOe in his early 20s.
After graduating with a law degree from Vienna University, he moved to southern Carinthia, where he soon became involved in local politics, quickly rising through the ranks of the FPOe until he took over the leadership of the party in 1986.
His run as Carinthia's governor was interrupted in 1991, however, after he made comments praising the Third Reich's employment policies. But he was re-elected in 1999 and 2004.