De Villota crash linked to death - family
A picture taken on March 15, 2012 shows former Spanish Formula One driver Maria de Villota smiling and waving to photographers ahead of Formula One's Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne
De Villota suffered serious head and facial injuries, including the loss of her right eye in the crash, whilst testing for the Marrusia team at Duxford Aerodrome in Cambridgeshire, England last July.
The 33-year-old was found dead in a hotel room in the southern Spanish city of Seville on Friday morning and the autopsy carried out on her body confirmed that she had died of natural causes.
"Maria died around six in the morning whilst she was sleeping as a consequence of the neurological injuries she suffered on July 3, 2012, the forensic doctor has informed us," Isabel de Villota, Maria's sister, told reporters.
"Maria has gone but she has left us with a very clear message of happiness and hope and that is what we are moving forward with at this time."
Isabel de Villota added that her sister would be buried in a private family ceremony in Madrid.
De Villota was in Seville to take part in a conference organised by the "What Really Matters" foundation promoting human values and was due to launch her book titled "Life is a gift" in Madrid on Monday.
The daughter of former Formula 1 driver Emilio De Villota, she was the first Spanish female to enter the sport when she joined Marussia in 2012 as a test driver.
However, disaster struck just four months later when the horrific crash left her in a coma and battling for her life.
Her return to the public spotlight in recent months had been seen as a great inspiration of triumph over difficulty and she was seen as a pioneer for women in a very male-dominated sport.
"I hope that, without having to go through an accident like mine, you can feel the joy of being alive and enjoy life," she wrote in the introduction to the book to explain the motivation behind it.
The news was met with shock in the motorsport world where she was a loved and respected figure.
The Grand Prix Drivers' Association confirmed there will be a one minute's silence to mark her passing before Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix and the podium ceremony afterwards will also be dedicated to her.