Former Formula One test driver Maria de Villota was found dead in a hotel room in Spain on Friday, with reports at the time claiming her death was due to natural causes. It has since been revealed that the Spanish driver passed away from injuries sustained during her horror crash last year while testing Marussia’s F1 car at Duxford Aerodrome in the U.K.

In a statement released on Saturday, Maria’s family revealed that they had been informed by doctors that the death was due to the crash.

“Maria left us while she was sleeping, approximately at 6 AM, as a consequence of the neurological injuries that she suffered in July of 2012, according to what the forensic doctor has told us,” de Villota’s sister Isabel said in a statement. “Maria is gone, but she has left us a very clear message of joy and hope, which is helping the family move on in these moments.”

The family also revealed that Maria will be buried in Madrid, Spain.

Maria’s fateful crash happened at the end of her first installation run in Marussia’s then-new MR-01 race car and involved an impact with the team’s support truck. The exact cause of the crash remains unknown and there was no fault found with the Marussia F1 car Maria was testing. The U.K.’s Health and Safety Executive is still investigating the matter, however.

Maria de Villota was aged just 33.


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