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Red Bull spaceman Baumgartner to marry in New Year

Felix Baumgartner is scheduled for a New Year wedding after his leap into the history books at the weekend.

Felix, 43, has popped the question to girlfriend Nicole after postponing a previous engagement plan in case something went wrong with Sunday's leap from the edge of space.

The duo will wed in Austria but live in Switzerland where the tens of millions he will earn from his space fall will be taxed far less than in his homeland.

A source close to Felix said: "He loves Nicole like mad and now will walk her up the aisle as he has achieved the ultimate in his profession."

Felix once said that if he was on his deathbed he would want mum Eva and Nicole holding his hand.  "Now she will be his wife and always be there for him," said a pal.

His name comes from the Latin and means one 'favoured by luck.'  He says he always had a burning sense that he would fulfil a destiny but didn't at the time know what it might be.

After parting company with the Austrian army - he signed on for five years but was booted out  because he didn't like "stupid orders" - he joined the Wiener Neustadt boxing club in Lower Austria.

He liked fighting in the ring and had one professional clash in May 1992 where he beat Croatian Dinko Porobbija in the first round.

He earned his keep by repairing motorbikes but the dream of becoming 'Fearless Felix' in the stratosphere was constantly with him.  "I wanted to see the world from above, always," said Felix.

His father, Felix Snr., said; "He was always as a boy on the extent end of things.  Whether with a BMX bike or motorbike riding - Felix always had to take it to the limit with crazy stunts."

Although not the brightest academic boy at school, he was a practical lad who found it easy to make almost anything in a workshop - a skill which would come in useful when he began forging his own equipment or modifying standard kit - for his spectacular high-rise career.

Convincing his mum Eva that his ambition was to push the envelope more than anyone else was always hard.  She recalled: "He was born on a Sunday and he realised this dream to jump further than anyone else on a Sunday.  And he did it and I was there for him.

"But I never accompanied him on jumps before.  I always failed to sleep before one of his 'projects.'  I spent nail biting days at home waiting to hear if what he had set out to do was a success."  His older brother Gerald also stayed at home on most jumps, but all family members were on hand to witness history being made at the weekend.

Felix turned pro in 1997 from when he was also sponsored by the like minded Dieter Mateschitz who shared a passion for machinery.  His mum Eva went: "I though it was bad enough that he was a professional parachutist, when he told me he wanted to choose base jumping I asked him if he was mad. But children will always go their own way. And Felix
has always wanted a challenge."

Felix  still maintains a house with a large garden in Salzburg where he is often staying while visiting the nearby Red Bull headquarters.  His mum and dad live in it and act as caretakers when he is not there.

Felix said that people who called him a daredevil over the years got it wrong.  "I am a risk manager," he said.  "I know exactly what I have to do and I used my knowledge and my preparation time to minimize the risks to myself.

"And I am not an adrenaline junkie either.  There are after all easier ways to get a kick . . ."

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