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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 19 June, 2002, 13:16 GMT 14:16 UK
Presenter killed by rare infection
Christopher Price
Christopher Price had been tipped for a bright future
Liquid News presenter Christopher Price was killed by heart failure caused by a rare brain disease similar to meningitis, a coroner has ruled.

After a verdict of death by natural causes was recorded, the BBC Choice star's family said in a statement it confirmed what they had known all along.


He said he had a very bad headache and that he was feeling dreadful

Robert Nisbet
Friend and colleague
Standing outside Westminster coroner's court, central London, a spokeswoman for Price's family said: "This has been a difficult day for us. Nothing can soften the loss of a much loved brother, son and uncle."

The coroner said Price, who was found dead at his home in April after failing to turn up for work, had been killed by meningoencephalitis.

The disease causes the lining of the brain to swell and may have spread from an ear infection.

Police found a small quantity of cocaine and prescription weight-loss drugs in Price's flat near Oxford Street, central London, but they were not connected to his death.

'Reflective man'

During the hearing the court was told that Price, 34, had been off work for several days, and had been complaining of flu-like symptoms for a week before his death.


In the last months he was probably happier than he had been for many years

Chris Wilson - Liquid News
BBC television reporter Robert Nisbet told the court that on the Wednesday before his death "he said he had a very bad headache and that he was feeling dreadful".

Liquid News editor Chris Wilson said Price had sent him a text message on Thursday which read: "Not good, just been to doctor, nothing worse than cold, cough etc, bad sinus pains and can't even say it's flu. Good luck tonight."

He complained to a Harley Street doctor about pains in his ear on the Friday before his death and was prescribed antibiotics and painkillers.

Mr Nisbet told the court Price was too ill to talk to him when he spoke to him on the same day.

'Reflective man'

Mr Nisbet and fellow BBC reporter Stephanie West described how they went round to Price's flat on Monday 22 April, only to find him dead in his bedroom.

Coroner Paul Knapman described police photos showing a flat dotted with soft drink cans and takeaway boxes.

Mr Wilson dismissed suggestions that Price was feeling depressed or suicidal and said he had made good new friends and was looking forward to new projects at work.

Kylie Minogue
Kylie Minogue was a fan of Price's work
He told the court: "Christopher was a very reflective man. He thought very deeply about all sorts of things.

"In the last months he was probably happier than he had been for many years."

Dr Nicholas Hunt, who conducted the post-mortem on Price, said tests on his brain revealed the presence of meningoencephalitis.

Speaking after the inquest he said it was extremely rare and he had only seen it two or three times before in more than 3,000 post-mortems.

Dr Hunt said the autopsy had also revealed that arteries in Price's heart had hardened to a degree unusual in a 34-year-old.

'Meticulous examination'

He said there were a number of minor grazes on Price's body consistent with having stumbled around the flat.

Recording a verdict of death by natural causes, the coroner said: "Only an autopsy including meticulous examination of the brain has given us the truth of the matter.

"It's particularly unfortunate that a person of his age should die of such a condition."

Price was the regular frontman of showbiz bulletin Liquid News, shown nightly on digital channel BBC Choice, with a weekly edition appearing on BBC One.

His funeral was held on 8 May and was attended by a host of celebrities, with personal tributes from friends and interviewees, including Kylie Minogue.

Christopher Price 1967 - 2002


Personal views

In his own words

TALKING POINT

FROM BBC CHOICE
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24 May 02 | Entertainment
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