The man who had taken over the leadership of right wing political party Alliance for the Future of Austria after the death of Joerg Haider has revealed that they were lovers.

Stefan Petzner, 27, said in a radio interview about Mr Haider’s death last week in a car accident:

“We had a relationship that went far beyond friendship.

“Joerg and I were connected by something truly special. He was the man of my life.”

He also claimed that Haider’s widow, Claudia “loved him as a woman. He loved her as a man. I loved him in a completely different and personal way. She understood that.”

Mr Petzner has been forced to stand down from the leadership and will serve as deputy leader.

The revelation that Mr Haider, 58, was having sex with his young protege has shocked Austria’s fascists.

Joerg Haider had never been open about his homosexuality.

The German and Austrian press outed the married father of two daughters in 2006.

His fascist political views led him to high office in Austria, despite his open praise for Nazi policies.

Mr Haider died in a car accident two weeks ago near Klagenfurt, less than 30 minutes after leaving the Stadtkraemer, a well-known gay hangout.

It is reported that he had an argument with Mr Petzner at an event earlier in the evening and went to the bar, where he drank vodka with a group of escorts.

Prosecutors have confirmed there was four times the legal limit for alcohol in his blood and he was driving at twice the legal speed limit when he crashed his VW Phaeton.

Mr Haider was the Governor of the state of Carinthia.