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Ex-F1 driver Maria de Villota dies at 33

11 October 2013, 18:45

Seville, Spain - Former Formula One driver Maria de Villota was found dead in a hotel room in Seville on Friday, of natural causes according to police. 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 to confirm the preliminary finding.

De Villota was seriously injured last year in a crash during testing for the Marussia F1 team, losing her right eye and sustaining other serious head injuries.

She also had driven in the world touring car championship in 2006 and 2007 plus the Superleague open-wheel series.

De Villota, a Madrid native, was the daughter of Emilio de Villota, who competed in F1 from 1976-82.

She was in Seville to participate in the conference "What Really Matters," whose mission is to inspire and teach young people "universal human values," in the words of the organizers.

Organizers canceled the conference on receiving news 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.

- AP


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