In 1996 Gauder started suffering from a virus infection of his heart. After living with an artificial heart for several months, he received a heart transplant. He has subsequently taken part in the New York Marathon several times. Being classified as a disabled participants due to his transplant, he was once disqualified for being too fast as there was a minimum time, which he underran.
His recovery from almost dying to returning into a normal life was covered in a documentary shown on German documentary channel Phoenix.