Editor died from cocaine overdose

A hard-working and hard-playing magazine editor died from a massive cocaine overdose, an inquest was told yesterday.

Michael VerMeulen, editor of the top-selling men's magazine GQ, was taken to hospital on 29 August when a friend noticed he had vomited in his sleep and could not wake him.

The 38-year-old editor, of Islington, north London, was pronounced dead at Whittington Hospital. His heart had stopped after he had taken twice the lethal level of the drug, David Brown, a pathologist, told St Pancras Coroner's Court.

Daniele Minns, who described herself as a close friend, had spent the previous night with VerMeulen and said he had drunk wine, beer and brandy during the night. She assumed that he had taken cannabis when he told her he had smoked a drug, and she said she had no idea that he had in fact snorted cocaine.

Stephen Chan, the coroner, said: "I understand the deceased was a person who had a big appetite for work and play - living life in the fast lane for the moment.

"To colleagues he may have been a larger-than-life hero but others may have looked at him in a less complimentary light. He was very popular in the various clubs he belonged to. He worked very long hours and was generally thought to be a man about town and a heavy drinker."

Recording a verdict of death by misadventure, Dr Chan said: "All the evidence satisfies me entirely that the consideration of a suicide verdict is totally inappropriate.

"There is no evidence that the deceased used cocaine regularly or habitually but I am satisfied he was conscious of what he was doing on that fatal morning. This rather excessive level pushed him beyond his physical tolerance - ending in tragedy."