A tragedy involving a driver and his fiancée has shaken the South American racing scene: Brazilian Douglas Costa, 42, and Mariana Giordana, 35, have died, and both deaths were apparently caused by a tick bite.

As reported by the media, the couple stayed in a rural area in Campinas in the Brazilian state of São Paulo at the end of May, where both had apparently been bitten by a tick. As a result, Costa and Giordana suffered from headaches, fever, nausea and skin rashes.

They went to a hospital in São Paulo, where the reason for the severe symptoms was diagnosed: both had been infected with Rocky Mountain spotted fever – an infectious disease that occurs mainly in South American areas and in the months of March to September is transmitted to adult ticks. The day after being admitted to the hospital, Costa died on June 8, and a few hours later his fiancée was also dead.

The racing scene reacted to the tragedy with great dismay and sympathy. “Our deepest condolences to all family members and friends,” said a statement from the AMG Cup, in which Costa started. “We know what an amazing man Douglas was and how he will leave a great void in the hearts of all who have had the honor and pleasure of knowing him.”