Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged woman at the heart of a bitter legal dispute in the United States, has died.

Mrs Schiavo's feeding tube was disconnected just under a fortnight ago, after a seven-year court battle between her parents, who wanted her kept alive, and her husband who said she would not want to continue living in her condition.

The Vatican has described her death as a violation of the sacred nature of life.

Fresh rows have broken out over arrangements for Mrs Schiavo's funeral.

The case saw US President George W Bush and US Congress come out in support of her parents, Bob and Mary Schindler who had mounted a series of appeals to save their daughter.

The long-running case also polarised opinion across the US.