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Wednesday, 11 December, 2002, 13:42 GMT
Cocaine stopped Entwistle's heart
John Entwistle
Entwistle was in Las Vegas to begin The Who tour
The Who bassist John Entwistle died after taking cocaine that caused his already diseased heart to fail, a coroner has ruled.

The 57-year-old was found dead in a hotel room in Las Vegas in June as the band were about to embark on a US tour.

The inquest at Tewkesbury Magistrates Court heard Entwistle had spent the night with a female companion at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.

The unidentified woman said the pair had gone to bed around 3am had heard him snoring during the night, but when she awoke in the morning he was "unresponsive and cold to the touch".

Paramedics were called but they were unable to resuscitate him.

John Entwistle
John Entwistle was found dead in a Las Vegas hotel room
A report from the US authorities said there was nothing untoward found in the room and there were no suspicious circumstances.

A report from consultant Dr Jeremy Uff of Gloucestershire Royal Hospital said there was evidence of high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which had been compounded by smoking.

In a statement, GP Dr Tim Healey said Entwistle smoked about 20 cigarettes a day and drank six to seven units of alcohol, but had regular health checks.

Professor Alexander Forrest, of Sheffield University's department of forensic pathology, said there was a "significant but not grossly elevated" level of cocaine in his body and he did not think the drugs would have caused death on their own.

Floral tribute outside church
Entwistle was affectionately known as The Ox
Tests showed Entwistle had not been drinking on the night of his death but two different types of cocaine were traced.

Coroner Lester Maddrell said he could not reduce the verdict to a simple phrase, but added that the cocaine in his body had compounded heart disease that was already present.

"He died from the effects of a single moderate usage of cocaine superimposed upon ischaemic heart disease caused by naturally-occurring coronary," he said.

An inquest held in the US had already ruled that Entwistle died after using a "significant amount of cocaine" which brought on heart failure.

Tour

Entwistle, known to fans as The Ox, died on the eve of The Who's US tour.

His son Christopher said in a statement to the inquest that his father had been looking forward to playing the live shows and had shown no signs of being ill before he left for the US.

The surviving members of The Who, Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend went ahead with the tour, dedicating the first night to their friend and fellow band member.

Original Who member Keith Moon died of an accidental drug overdose 25 years ago.


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