A Dutch prince who has been in a coma for 18 months after being buried alive beneath an avalanche while skiing has died. 

Prince Friso, 44, was trapped while on holiday in Lech, Austria in February 2012 and never regained consciousness.

He was under the snow for 20 minutes before he was rescued and died as a result of the extensive damage to his brain caused by oxygen deprivation.

 
Royal loss: Netherland's Prince Friso, pictured with wife Princess Mabel and their daughters Luana and Zaria, has died after 18 months in a coma after a skiing accident

Royal loss: Netherland’s Prince Friso, pictured with wife Princess Mabel and their daughters Luana and Zaria, has died after 18 months in a coma after a skiing accident

 
Horrific:

Horrific: Dutch Prince Johan Friso and his daughter Zaria earlier this year. He was trapped while on holiday in Lech, Austria in February 2012 and never regained consciousness

He was initially treated in a London hospital and was brought back to The Hague last month.

The Dutch royal’s death comes just months after his mother Princess Beatrix abdicated in favour of her oldest son, now King Willem-Alexander.

Prince Friso, full name, Johan Friso Bernhard Christiaan David, Prince of Oranje-Nassau, also himself gave up his claim to the throne in 2003 in order to marry commoner Mabel Wisse Smit, with whom he had two daughters, Princesses Luana and Zaria.

 
Happier t

Happier times: Dutch Prince Johan Friso right and his wife Mabel Wisse Smit during their wedding in Delft, the Netherlands in 2004.

He married his wife without official permission which meant he was removed from the line of succession.

The 2012 accident occurred as Prince Friso was skiing with a childhood friend from the alpine village that the Dutch royal family had been visiting each winter for years.

 
Family unit: Then Queen Beatrix, Prince Friso's wife Mabel and King Willem-Alexander, then Crown Prince, arrive at the university hospital in Innsbruck, Austria shortly after the accident

Family unit: Then Queen Beatrix, Prince Friso’s wife Mabel and King Willem-Alexander, then Crown Prince, arrive at the university hospital in Innsbruck, Austria shortly after the accident.

The friend was carrying an avalanche ‘air bag’ and escaped without serious injury.

Friso was found after 25 minutes with the help of a signalling device he was carrying and was flown by helicopter to an Innsbruck clinic.

Following the accident his condition was at first described as ‘stable but life-threatening’, and the queen and his wife came to be by his side.

At the time Stefan Jochum, a spokesman for the Lech ski area where the accident occurred, said the incident took place as the prince and other skiers were on slopes away from the marked Lech ski runs which were laden with snow after weeks of record falls.

Prince Friso most recently worked as financial director at Urenco, the European uranium-enrichment consortium.

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