Rossi's Stepfather Commits Suicide

Tragic news for Valentino Rossi on the eve of the Australian Grand Prix. According to reports in the Italian press, Mauro Tecchi, the second husband of Stefania Palma, Rossi's mother, was found dead at his home on Friday. Tecchi, who had been married to Palma for two years, had apparently committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest sometime between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. Stefania Palma discovered his body on Friday upon returning to the marital home.

According to reports in the local press, the couple had quarreled and Palma had left for Tavullia. After not receiving any reply to phone calls, Palma became worried that something had happened, and returned to find Tecchi's body. The public prosecutor of Pesaro has ordered that an autopsy be performed on Tecchi's body, although there is no doubt that this is a case of suicide. The engineer had left the construction company where he worked a few days previously, and was found with a pillow on his chest and the TV on to dampen the sound of the gunshot from neighbors. Tecchi was 52 years of age.

Valentino Rossi refused to comment on the case after practice, saying only "This is a terrible thing, I don't know what to say."

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