Prince Friso of Orange-Nassau, younger brother of Dutch King Willem-Alexander, died today after a skiing accident in February 2012 left him comatose.
The prince was buried under an avalanche while skiing off-trail in Lech, Austria, according to ABC News. He was under snow for 20 minutes before rescuers were able to pull him out.
The royal house confirmed the news today, saying that Friso never regained more than “minimal consciousness” after the accident. Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that the news “still comes as a shock,” despite Friso’s vegetative state.
“Prince Friso was only 44 years old, and until the ski accident, in the prime of his life,” Rutte said.
Prince Friso’s mother, Princess Beatrix abdicated on April 30th at the age of 75, partly so that she could visit her ailing son, who was being cared for at a London hospital. A two-day celebration, which included Willem-Alexander’s coronation, was attended by members of Europe’s royal families.
Friso is survived by his wife, Princess Mabel, and their two daughters, Launa and Zaria. Friso and Mabel married in 2004, but Friso had to give up his place in line to the Dutch throne because Parliament didn’t approve their marriage. The couple is part of the Dutch Royal Family, but not the Dutch Royal House.