A Spanish cyclist who spent 25 years in a coma following an accident in a race has died.
Raul Garcia Alvarez – from Villacastin, Segovia Province – passed away on 18th January.
He was just 17 years old when – on 20th August 1998 – he careered off the track during a race in the mountains near Madrid for pro cycling team Venta Magullo-B Melero.
He failed to make a curve and fell about five metres (16 feet) down an embankment while doing 80 kph (50 mph).
Alvarez suffered severe head trauma, chest trauma, and a deep cut to one leg.
Reports from the time said he had been racing without a helmet, though his family denied this.
He was taken by air ambulance to a hospital in Madrid, where he underwent a four-and-a-half-hour operation.
In the end, medics could only deliver his family the grim news that he had fallen into an irreversible coma.
He spent a year in a specialised hospital in Burgos before being sent home, where he was cared for by his parents and siblings to the day of his death.
His brother – Antonio Garcia Alvarez – told local media: “We were with him until the last moment, and it has been hard, but he rests in peace.
“Not even the doctors themselves thought he could live so many years. I believe that, if he has lived so long, it has been because of my mother’s care, because she has been watching over him 24 hours a day.”