Maria Robotnik was the granddaughter of Professor Gerald Robotnik and cousin to Dr. Eggman. Maria had a rare but terminal disease called Neuro-Immuno Deficiency Syndrome. In order to save her life, Professor Gerald agreed to the current President's proposal to create immortality and took Maria to the Space Colony ARK. He managed to make a potential cure with the help of Black Doom, but Maria was shot in the back by a soldier when trying to escape the ARK when the project was terminated.
Life and Death
Maria spent most of her life on board the Space Colony ARK space station with her grandfather Professor Gerald, who was working to find a cure for her illness. During her time on the ARK she developed a close friendship with her grandfathers creation Shadow the Hedgehog. Maria's life was cut tragically short when G.U.N. raided the ARK, in which she was shot while helping Shadow escape. With her dying breathe, she begged Shadow protect the people of the world, seconds before Shadow was shot from the ARK down to the planet below. (SA2/SA2B, ShtH)
Once Shadow was reawaken nearly 50 years later, his further actions would be motivated by Maria's death, beginning by swearing revenge on the people of the world, to which he joined forces with his creators grandson Dr. Eggman to accomplish. It wasn't until the eleventh hour that Shadow was reminded of Maria's dying wish, and he immediately aided Sonic the Hedgehog and the heroes in stopping the very plan he'd set into motion, seemingly sacrificing his life in the process. Shadow survived his ordeal only to lose his memories as a result with the exception of a disturbing mental image of Maria being shot. When the Black Arms invaded the world, this set Shadow on a quest to rediscover his purpose, learning vital pieces of info from the Black Arms' leader Black Doom, who would use Maria's demise at the hands of the human species to sway Shadow to their side. Fortunately, Shadow finally learned of his true purpose from a final video message from Gerald: to protect the world from the Black Arms and all other threats, just as her granddaughter also desired. This gave Shadow the final motivation he needed, allowing him to obliterate Black Doom and his minions. (SH, ShtH)
Maria was a kind, gentle soul, a caring and thoughtful person, always giving support to her friends when they needed it. Though young, she had a strong sense of righteousness, a trait which she passed on to Shadow, who was her best friend before her death. Maria and Shadow care for each other. Maria could have been a sister figure or mother figure to Shadow. Maria was also shown to be fond of her grandfather, who cared greatly for her, and her death was met with much anger from Professor Gerald.