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'Depressed' designer Alexander McQueen hanged himself

Liam Creedon,Gregor Hunter,Press Association
Wednesday 28 April 2010 12:00 BST

Fashion designer Alexander McQueen hanged himself after taking a cocktail of cocaine, sleeping pills and tranquillisers, an inquest heard today.

The 40-year-old's body was found in a wardrobe at his flat in Mayfair, central London, on February 11, the day before his mother Joyce's funeral.

The inquest into his death was told that McQueen had a history of depression, anxiety and insomnia and had researched suicide on the internet prior to taking his life.

Westminster Coroner Dr Paul Knapman said the designer had "killed himself while the balance of his mind was disturbed".

Dr Knapman added: "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.

"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."

The court was told that McQueen felt huge pressure from his work as one of the world's leading designers.

His psychiatrist, Dr Stephen Pereira, said the designer, who was diagnosed with mixed anxiety and depressive disorder, saw his work as a "double-edged sword".

He said: "He certainly felt very pressured by his work, but it was a double-edged sword.

"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."

Dr Pereira said McQueen had attempted two drug overdoses in May and July last year, describing both as "cries for help".

A toxicology report found that McQueen had taken a "substantial" amount of cocaine and sleeping pills and also a smaller amount of tranquillisers prior to his death.

A post-mortem examination found the two causes of death were asphyxia and hanging.

Coroner's Officer Lynda Martindill said: "He had been particularly close to his mother and, following her death, had become overwhelmed with grief."

Dr Pereira also suggested the death of McQueen's mother had a huge effect upon him.

He said: "He was mentally very close to his mother.

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

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