The festival’s lawyer, 32-year-old Stefan Müller, had a heart attack on the A9 motorway on the way from Berlin to Nuremberg, the festival’s spokesperson Peter Emmerich said on Friday. But Wagner - composer Richard Wagner's great-granddaughter - was not able to revive him after she managed to guide the car off the road and called emergency services just past midnight on Friday morning.
Müller was a close friend of 30-year-old Wagner and Emmerich said the event was "tragic and unbelievable."
He had recently received more media attention in discussions about the festival’s leadership succession battle. This autumn, two of Richard Wagner’s great-granddaughters were chosen to run the annual Bayreuth Festival devoted to the composer’s music, ending a bitter race for the position. The festival’s board chose the half-sisters Katharina Wagner and Eva Wagner-Pasquier, 63, to take over from their father Wolfgang Wagner, 89, who retired after 57 years in charge of the festival.