British designer McQueen took drugs before suicide



LONDON- British fashion designer Alexander McQueen took cocaine, sleeping pills and tranquillisers before hanging himself, leaving a note asking his family to "look after my dogs", an inquest heard Wednesday.
McQueen, who felt under pressure from work, had a history of self-harming and a depressive disorder and had taken two previous overdoses, a coroner and his psychiatrist said.



Alexander McQueen
Alexander McQueen
The 40-year-old's body was found in a wardrobe in his central London flat in February, the day before his mother's funeral.
The inquest heard details of his life, including his passion for deep sea diving and love for his three pet dogs. A note scribbled onto the back of a book in his room read: "Look after my dogs, sorry, I love you, Lee."
McQueen was one of fashion's superstar designers, working for Givenchy before being creative director of his own label. His death was mourned by friends including supermodels Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell.
"He certainly felt very pressured by his work, but it was a double-edged sword," psychiatrist Stephen Pereira told the hearing in central London. "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."
He added that McQueen had been greatly affected by the recent death of his mother, to whom he was "very close."
"He felt that was the one link that had gone from his life and there was very little to live for," he said.
Coroner Paul Knapman concluded that McQueen had killed himself "while the balance of his mind was disturbed."
"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," he said.
"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."
McQueen's family later released a statement saying they "miss him terribly."
"Lee was a public figure and a creative genius, who possessed a generous loving, caring nature," the statement said, using his real first name. "We will continue to make every effort to keep his memory alive."
McQueen was one of Britain's most successful fashion exports, shocking Paris as chief designer at Givenchy but winning hoards of fans with his outlandish but always beautifully tailored clothes at his eponymous label.
His death cast a cloud over New York Fashion Week, which was already underway, while London Fashion Week opened with a minute's silence a few days later.
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Thursday, April 29th 2010
AFP
           


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