Franz Beckenbauer's last photo in public: The German football legend was pictured with his wife and son at a traditional carp dinner in Austria a year before his death at the age of 78
These are the last photos of German football legend Franz Beckenbauer in public – almost exactly a year before he died at the age of 78.
'Der Kaiser' was photographed with his wife Heidi and son Joel during the traditional carp dinner at the 'Kitzhof' hotel in the Austin Alpine town of Kitzbühel on January 6 last year.
Beckenbauer withdrew from public life due to health problems – in recent years he struggled with a heart problem, vision problems and Parkinson's disease – before he died on Sunday.
According to German newspaper BildWhen his 1990 World Cup-winning team held a reunion in Grassau, Bavaria, last summer, Beckenbauer was too ill to attend.
At the Kitzbühel dinner in January, when asked about his health, Beckenbauer said: “I'm doing well so far considering the circumstances. If it stays that way, I'll be happy.'
German football legend Franz Beckenbauer (second right) is pictured last January with wife Heidi (centre) and son Joel (left) and staff at Hotel Kitzhof in Kitzbühel, Austria
These would prove to be the legend's last photos in public before his death at the age of 78
The Beckenbauer family attended a traditional New Year's carp dinner in the Austrian city
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His last visit to a football stadium for a match was on August 26, 2022, when he took part in the Bundesliga match between Hoffenheim and Augsburg while receiving treatment at a nearby clinic.
The last time Beckenbauer watched his beloved Bayern Munich was a 4-0 win over Stuttgart in March 2021, when the Covid-19 pandemic was still keeping fans out of the stadiums.
Beckenbauer was widely regarded as one of the best players to ever play football. He won the World Cup as captain of West Germany in 1974, before leading the team to victory in 1990.
The defender made 584 appearances for Bayern, helping them win three consecutive European Cups between 1974 and 1976, as well as four Bundesliga titles, four German Cups, the European Cup Winners' Cup and the Intercontinental Cup. He later added another Bundesliga with Hamburg.
He was part of the West German team that won the European Championship in 1972 and would later win league titles with Bayern and Marseille in France.
Beckenbauer's talents were recognized with two Ballon d'Or victories in 1972 and 1976.
Beckenbauer's health has gradually deteriorated since his son Stephan died in 2015. Since then, the iconic former player and manager has struggled with Parkinson's disease and dementia, and undergone heart surgery.
He is survived by his wife Heidi and his four other children.
Franz Beckenbauer, one of the greatest footballers ever, has died at the age of 78
Beckenbauer is survived by his wife Heidi – whom he married in 2006 – and four of his five children.
“It is with deep sadness that we announce that husband and father, Franz Beckenbauer, passed away peacefully in his sleep yesterday, Sunday, surrounded by his family,” a statement said.
“We ask that you grieve in silence and not ask questions.”
Earlier this month, concerns grew about the former Bayern Munich superstar – and his brother failed to allay public concerns.
“If I were to tell you now that he was doing well, I would be lying and I don't like lying,” Walter Beckenbauer told German broadcaster ARD on January 2.
'He does not feel well. It goes up and down all the time.'
As his health deteriorated, he disappeared from the public spotlight until his death on Sunday. German media spoke of how his judgment and memory had “deteriorated significantly” in recent months.
In 2019, it was revealed in Bunte magazine that Beckenbauer, nicknamed 'Der Kaiser', had lost sight in one eye after participating in a golf tournament in his name: the Kaiser Cup.
“I had a suspected eye infection in one eye,” he said.
The German icon is one of three men to have won the World Cup as both a player and manager
Beckenbauer won the World Cup for West Germany as a player, in 1974, and as a manager in 1990 (pictured with Bobby Moore in 1985)
'Unfortunately I can no longer see with my right eye. And I have to be careful with my heart.”
Beckenbauer had been at Stephan's bedside when he died at age 46 after a battle with a brain tumor, and the experience had a lasting – and deteriorating – effect on him.
Stephan's death made Beckenbauer regret that he had focused too much on football instead of family.
“I was a bad father because I was never there,” he said in a 2005 TV interview.