Dutch Prince Johan Friso dies after 18 months in a coma following avalanche skiing accident in Austria

He was moved from hospital in London back to the Netherlands last month, but had since suffered complications

Prince Johan Friso of the Dutch royal family has died after 18 months in a coma following a skiing accident, the government said on Monday.

The prince, 44, the youngest brother of King Willem-Alexander, died of complications resulting from brain damage following the accident in Austria in February 2012.

He was moved from hospital in London back to the Netherlands last month, but had since suffered complications.

The second son of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands was skiing off-piste with friends in Lech, Austria when he was buried in an avalanche.

According to Austrian media reports rescuers had to resucitate the prince after he spent around 15 minutes buried beneath the snow.

"Prince Friso died from complications that arose as a consequence of the brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation following his skiing accident," the government said in a statement.

He died at the Palace Huis ten Bosche, where he was being cared for, on Monday morning.

Prince Friso’s brother, King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, ascended to the throne in April following the abdication of his 75-year-old mother Queen Beatrix after 33 years as the country's monarch.

There had been speculation that the Queen abdicated in order to spend more time with her son.

Prince Friso, who has an degree in mechanical engineering, renounced his right of accession in 2004 by marrying a commoner, Mabel Wisse Smit.

He had two daughters and worked as chief financial officer for Urenco, a uranium enrichment company based in Berkshire.

His marriage had scandalised Holland after it emerged that Smit had a previous relationship involveing a drug dealer who was later murdered.

In a statement, the royal family said that the 44-year-old Friso had never regained more than "minimal consciousness" after the accident.

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