Maria De Villota has been found dead in a hotel room in Seville, Spain at the age of 33.
A statement on her Facebook page, signed by her family, read: “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.”
De Villota, who lost her right eye in an accident while testing for the Marussia F1 Team, competed in a range of series, including Spanish Formula 3, Euroseries F3, Superleague Formula and the World Touring Car Championship, as well as the 2005 24 Hours of Daytona.
The Spaniard suffered life threatening injuries in June 2012 after colliding with a stationary truck whilst conducting a straight-line test for Marussia.
A police spokesperson at the scene said De Villota’s body was found at around 07:00 local time, saying: “We are assuming it was a natural death, but we cannot confirm anything.”
Tributes poured in for the daughter of ex-Formula 1 driver, Emilio De Villota, on Twitter.
Karun Chandhok: “Tragic news about Maria de Villota. Sat next to her just a couple weeks ago at FIA Drivers Comm meeting. Was doing a lot for women in racing.”
Heikki Kovalainen: “So sad news emerging from Spain regarding Maria de Villota, my sincerest condolences to her family and friends”
McLaren: “Even though we’re far away, the whole team’s hearts and minds are with the family of Maria de Villota at this terrible, terrible time…”
Caterham F1 Team: “We’d like to echo the thoughts of the whole paddock and express our deepest condolences on the news of Maria de Villota’s passing. RIP.”
De Villota was in Seville to promote the launch of her autobiography, Life Is A Gift.