Chile bids farewell to former president Sebastián Piñera in an emotional state funeral: "It breaks my heart that you have left us"

The tribute included moving speeches given by political figures and relatives of the late former president.

This Friday, Chile said a tearful goodbye to its former president, Sebastián Piñera, in an emotional state funeral that took place in the majestic Cathedral of Santiago. The ceremony featured moving speeches given by senior political figures and family members of the late leader.

The country was plunged into grief as it paid tribute to the man who was the first right-wing president after the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990), and who governed in two non-consecutive periods (2010-2014 and 2018-2022). The nation, still shocked by his sudden death at the age of 74 in a tragic helicopter accident, came together to express its gratitude and recognition to a leader who marked the country’s recent history.

The farewell

The farewell ceremony, steeped in solemnity due to its status as a state funeral, was presided over in the Senate Hall of Honor at 9:00 in the morning, where prominent figures representing the powers of the State, including President Gabriel Boric, shared emotional speeches in honor of the former president.

“He always put Chile first and never let himself be carried away by fanaticism or resentment” were some of the words Boric dedicated to him.

Subsequently, the funeral procession headed to the Cathedral of Santiago, where Piñera’s son recalled his father’s legacy with an emotional speech.

With tears in his eyes, Sebastián Piñera Morel, son of the former president of Chile, thanked his father for what he gave him in life and acknowledged that his father’s death left them with “heartbreaking grief.” “It breaks my heart that you have left us,” he said in his moving speech.

“The last two years were when I saw you most fulfilled and happy. We grew in numbers, and you taught us the importance of so many values. The commitment to always be good and better people, to live with simplicity and purpose. We grew up with an adventure partner. You don’t know the mark you left on us and everything you did (...) It calms me to be certain that, even though you left, you left our hearts full. I have no doubt about the pride and legacy you left,” he added.

The miners rescued in 2010 also said goodbye

Another of the most emotional moments was when four of the 33 miners rescued from the San José mine in 2010 said goodbye to the former president. Representatives of the group expressed their gratitude for Piñera’s leadership during the rescue operation, highlighting his unwavering faith.

“We are going to keep the memory of the phrase he said: ‘We are going to look for them as if they were our own children’ (...) We thank God that he never gave up. He always had faith that we were alive,” expressed the first miner to be rescued, Juan Carlos Aguilar.

Piñera’s widow thanked people for their affection

Leaving the wake on Thursday, the former first lady, Cecilia Morel, expressed her gratitude to all the people in Chile who have sent their expressions of affection: “It has really been very touching and well deserved for Sebastián.”

Other moments of the funeral