Grieving spouse thanks Yukoners for support after fatal grizzly bear attack

Matthias Liniger hasn't been home since a grizzly bear killed his spouse Claudia Huber last weekend. For now, he is staying with friends and thanking those around him for their support.

'She was my soul mate, she was the love of my life'

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      Matthias Liniger hasn't been home since the grizzly bear attacked last Saturday, killing his wife. 

      "I am staying with friends now. I haven't been back on our property since it happened," he says. 

      Liniger says he's grateful for the support of friends and neighbours. 

      "I get phone calls, I have hundreds of emails. People are hugging me, giving me a hug and saying 'I love you,'" he says. 

      Liniger is deeply shaken by the loss of his wife.  

      "Everybody loved her. Everybody loved how she laughed. She was such a sunshine. She was my soul mate, she was the love of my life."

      LISTEN: Matthias Liniger speaks (Runs: 4:10)

      Although they have lived in the Yukon for many years, Liniger and Huber became Canadian citizens in 2013. 

      "I will stay in the Yukon. This is my paradise, this is Claudia's paradise and we were so proud when we got the Canadian citizenship you know. I will stay here. I will not leave Yukon without Claudia."  

      I am not mad at the bear. Claudia and I, we knew where we lived. It's just sad how it ended."-Matthias Liniger

      Liniger is an experienced wilderness guide. He says he cannot explain the actions of the bear. 

      "I want to say and that's important, I am not mad at the bear. Claudia and I, we knew where we lived. The wilderness, beautiful Yukon and things are happening out there, it's important that people know that. I'm not mad at the bear, it's just sad how it ended."

      "If I would ask myself every minute why and what was wrong with the bear and was anything wrong with the bear, I couldn't move forward you know. It just happened. It happened and it took Claudia away from me but I am not mad at the bear. This is nature, this is wilderness," he says.

      Celebration of life

      Liniger works for Yukon's Teslin Tlingit Council. Earlier this week, people in the small rural community of Teslin gathered for a prayer circle. He says he was honoured when friends sang a Tlingit song. "Everybody was there, it was so beautiful, it was wonderful," he says. 

      He says a celebration of life will happen after Huber's ashes are returned. He says her family will come to Canada from Switzerland to attend.

      "It was Claudia's wish to have a celebration of life, with all friends and families and all the people she loved and who loved her. And only with tears of joy," Liniger says.

      He adds he is grateful for pictures showing Huber enjoying life and especially the outdoors. 

      "I try to think mostly about the last three weeks when we were in Hawaii together, that was wonderful. And all the good things, all the good wonderful things we did. The canoe trips, the wilderness trips, our paradise at 4 Mile. I always have her picture right in front of me."