Date: 11th October 2013 at 12:21pm
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This morning Formula One was shocked to hear the news that Maria de Villota had been found dead in a hotel room in Seville aged just 33.

The former Marussia test driver was found at around 7am at the Hotel Savilla Congresos in Seville.

Initial reports suggest that she has died of natural causes.

A police spokeswoman in Seville said: ‘We are assuming it was a natural death, but we cannot confirm anything.’

Following her testing accident in July 2012 which resulted in the loss of her right eye, De Villota had become a motivational speaker and she had been due to give a lecture in Seville this week.

Along side her work as a motivational speaker Maria de Villota had also been working as an ambassador for the Women in Motorsport commission and motor racing safety campaigns.

Her autobiography ‘Life Is A Gift’ was due to be released on Monday.

The sad news was announced by her family on the website for Spanish newspaper Marca, with a quote reading: ‘Dear friends: Maria has left us.

‘She had to go to heaven like all angels. We are thankful to God for the extra year and a half that he left her with us.’


The Marussia F1 Team released a statement on Friday morning which read: ?It is with great sadness that we learned a short time ago of the news that Maria de Villota has passed away.

?Our thoughts and prayers are with Maria?s family and friends at this very difficult time.?


Fellow Spaniard and double Formula One World Champion Fernando Alonso spoke to the media after Formula One Free Practice Two in Japan had ended and he said: ‘I had only just taken my helmet off when I was told about her death and at the moment, I still can?t believe it and need a while to stop and think about it.

‘It?s very sad news for the world of motorsport as Maria was loved by everyone. Now, all we can do is pray for her and for her family.’


Spain’s secretary of state for sport Miguel Cardenal told local media in Spain: ‘I was talking to her on Tuesday about the book she was going to present, She believed she could help many people, find something positive, because losing something makes you realise what you have,’

‘The accident gave her this special insight and she wanted to give something to others. We are thinking about how to sustain her legacy because she brought something different to Spanish sport, different values and her vision of life.’




 

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