Fashion designer Alexander McQueen hanged himself after taking a mix of cocaine, tranquillisers and sleeping pills, an inquest has concluded. He was under huge pressure from work and "overwhelmed with grief" at the loss of his mother, the court heard.
The 40-year-old's body was found at his London flat on 11 February - the eve of his mother Joyce's funeral. "The balance of his mind was disturbed," said coroner Dr Paul Knapman, recording a suicide verdict. Following the verdict his family said they were still coming to terms with their loss and missed him "terribly".
Westminster Coroner's Court heard that McQueen had a history of depression, anxiety and insomnia, had attempted suicide before and researched killing himself on the internet prior to his death.
McQueen's psychiatrist, Dr Stephen Pereira, told the inquest that the leading designer was diagnosed with mixed anxiety and depressive disorder. Usually after a show he felt a huge come-down - he felt isolated, it gave him a huge low.
He said the designer - who was also known as Lee - repeatedly missed appointments to discuss his condition. "He certainly felt very pressured by his work, but it was a double-edged sword," he said. "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 come-down. He felt isolated, it gave him a huge low."
Added to this was the distress he felt after losing his mother, said coroner's officer Lynda Martindill. "He had been particularly close to his mother and following her death had become overwhelmed with grief." Dr Pereira said McQueen "felt that was the one link that had gone from his life and there was very little to live for".
The designer had "killed himself while the balance of his mind was disturbed", Dr Knapman said.
He 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." Dr Pereira said McQueen had attempted two drug overdoses in May and July last year which he described 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. He was discovered by his housekeeper, who arrived in the morning to find the doors of the flat locked and the security chain fastened.
It also heard the police had found a note, scribbled onto the back of a book in McQueen's room.
It said: "Look after my dogs, sorry, I love you, Lee."source