THE mother of a young woman who has died from a suspected accidential overdose says she hopes by sharing their tragedy, the public will have more empathy for addicts. 

Ila Scheckter passed away at the age of 21 at her family home on Laverstoke Park Farm near Overton on Thursday. 

Her parents the Formula One former champion Jody Scheckter and his wife Clare have been left 'utterly heartbroken'.

Speaking today, Clare said she hoped by sharing the photos of Ila who looked healthy and well would help others understand the complexities of drug addiction.

She told the Gazette: "Addiction is such a misunderstood mental health condition so I hope by explaining and seeing the photos of someone who looked so well and gorgeous, people might have a little more empathy for addicts.

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Pictured: Ila two days before she passed away

She continued: "Nobody chooses to be an addict. It is a very frightening disease which, at Narcotics Anonymous, they state 'the only outcome is jails, institutions or death' unless the person can achieve total abstinence of any mood altering substance or behaviour. 

"One of the symptoms of the disease is denial - 'I'm fine, I can handle this.'" 

The family said Ila developed an addiction after suffering from epilepsy following major brain surgery. The young woman was diagnosed with a brain tumour two years ago and had been left fighting 'extreme anxiety' and an ongoing fear of seizures. 

Clare described her daughter as a “larger than life character” who was “funny, wacky, outrageous, beautiful, smart, compassionate, empathetic, loyal and with a smile that could light up a room”.

Donations can be made in Ila's memory to causes close to her heart: Centrepoint for homeless young people and Action on Addiction

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