THE HAGUE, Netherlands
- Johan Friso, the bespectacled Dutch prince who avoided the limelight and gave up his position in line to the throne after getting entangled in a scandal with his bride-to-be, died yesterday - 18 months after a skiing accident that left his brain gravely injured. He was 44.
The royal house said the prince, known as Friso, died of complications from the accident, without giving more details. It said he had never regained more than "minimal consciousness."
Friso was struck by an avalanche while skiing off-trail in Lech, Austria, on Feb. 17, 2012, and was buried until rescuers pulled him from the snow, unconscious, 20 minutes later. He was resuscitated at the scene and flown to a hospital, but remained in a coma for months.
His death, though not unexpected, "still comes as a shock," Prime Minister Mark Rutte said.
The central event of his life as a royal came when he gave up his claim to the throne in 2004 in order to marry Dutchwoman Mabel Wisse Smit in a wedding not sanctioned by the government, due to the woman's alleged former relationship with Klaas Bruinsma, one of the country's most infamous crime lords.