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Ex-F1 driver Maria de Villota dies at 33
BARCELONA, SPAIN (AP) - Former Formula One driver Maria de Villota was found dead in a hotel room in Seville on Friday, and police said it appears she died of natural causes. She was 33.
Spanish police told The Associated Press that De Villota was discovered in the Hotel Sevilla Congresos in the morning, dead “apparently from natural causes.” An autopsy will be carried out.
De Villota was seriously injured last year in a crash during testing for the Marussia F1 team, losing her right eye and sustaining serious head injuries.
She also had driven in the world touring car championship in 2006 and 2007, as well as the Superleague open-wheel series.
De Villota, a Madrid native, was the daughter of Emilio de Villota, who competed in F1 from 1976-82.
The Marussia team expressed its condolences from the Japanese Grand Prix.
“It is with great sadness that we learned a short time ago of the news that Maria de Villota has passed away,” Marussia said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Maria’s family and friends at this very difficult time.”
De Villota was in Seville to participate in the conference “What Really Matters,” whose mission is to inspire and teach young people “universal human values,” according to the organizers.
Organizers canceled the conference after learning of her death and issued a statement “transmitting their care and support to the family and loved ones of Maria del Villota.”
On Monday, De Villota was to present a book, “Life is a Gift,” detailing her ordeal following her driving accident.
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