British designer McQueen took drugs before suicide

28th April 2010, Comments 0 comments

British fashion designer Alexander McQueen took cocaine, sleeping pills and tranquilisers before hanging himself, an inquest into his death found Wednesday.

McQueen, who felt under pressure from work, had a history of self-harming and a depressive disorder and had taken two previous overdoses, a coroner and his psychiatrist Stephen Pereira said.

The 40-year-old's body was found in a wardrobe in his central London flat in February, the day before his mother's funeral.

McQueen was one of fashion's superstar designers and designed for Givenchy before being creative director of his own label. His death was mourned by friends including supermodels Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell.

"He certainly felt very pressured by his work, but it was a double-edged sword," Pereira told the hearing in central London. "He felt it was the only area of his life where he felt he had achieved something.

"Usually after a show he felt a huge comedown. He felt isolated, it gave him a huge low."

The psychiatrist added that McQueen had been greatly affected by the recent death of his mother, to whom he was "very close".

"He felt that was the one link that had gone from his life and there was very little to live for," he said.

Coroner Paul Knapman concluded that McQueen had killed himself "while the balance of his mind was disturbed".

"It seems that he had a history of self-harm and, no doubt fuelled by cocaine, he resorted to desperate measures to end his life," he said.

"It's such a pity for a man who, from a modest start, climbed to the top of his profession only to die in such tragedy."

McQueen's family later released a statement saying they "miss him terribly".

"Lee was a public figure and a creative genius, who possessed a generous loving, caring nature," the statement said, using his real first name. "We will continue to make every effort to keep his memory alive."

© 2010 AFP

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