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Former Qatari princess found dead at home in southern Spain

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By Joshua Askew  with AFP
Yachts are seen in Puerto Banus luxury marina and shopping complex in Marbella on March 2, 2022.
Yachts are seen in Puerto Banus luxury marina and shopping complex in Marbella on March 2, 2022.   -   Copyright  JORGE GUERRERO/AFP or licensors

A former princess of Qatar has been found dead in her home in southern Spain, authorities said Wednesday. 

Kasia Gallanio, 46, was the third wife of billionaire Abdelaziz bin Khalifa Al Thani, the uncle of the current Emir of Qatar. She was found by Spanish police in her apartment in Marbella on Wednesday, a Malaga police spokeswoman said. 

Gallanio was born in Los Angeles and was of Polish origin. She had been living in Spain while battling problems with alcoholism and depression, French newspaper Le Parisien reported.

Her lifeless body was discovered in bed after one of her daughters in France called the Spanish police as she had not been returning her calls, the spokeswoman said. There were no signs of a struggle. 

Gallanio had married the Emir's uncle in 2004. The pair had three daughters together but their marriage quickly fell apart. They fought a bitter custody battle for over a decade after allegations that al-Thani, now 73 years old, had sexually assaulted his eldest child. He has repeatedly denied this.

Gallanio had been living in one of the couple's homes in the Spanish resort city while her three children stayed with their father, in the luxurious Avenue Montaigne off the Champs-Elysees in Paris.  

An autopsy is due to be held shortly. Louis Spagnuolo, a friend of Gallanio in Marbella, told the Spanish newspaper Olive Press that contrary to some reports, Gallanio was “against drugs” and not an alcoholic.

“I knew her very, very well and am devastated by the news,” he said. “She was a very good person and those who knew her loved her.

“She loved her daughters beyond belief and would never leave them. She was dead against drugs and was never an alcoholic.”