An inquest into the sudden death of the Irish broadcaster Gerry Ryan has heard that traces of cocaine found in his system were the likely cause of his death.
Father-of-five, Gerry Ryan , who hosted a hugely popular Irish radio program, died suddenly earlier this year of a suspected heart attack. The 53-year-old was found dead in his apartment in Dublin on April 30th.
Coroner Eamon Lean said that Ryan's heart was normal when he carried out the post mortem examination. However toxicology tests later revealed that traces of cocaine were found in his system. He said that cocaine was the likely trigger to a cardiac arrhythmia that resulted in his death.
When questioned by Barrister Brendan Grehan, Dr Lean said that the levels of cocaine detected were very low. He added that cocaine is an unpredictable drug that does not have to be taken in high doses to have a severe impact.
The Dublin City Coroner Brian Farrell has recorded a verdict of death by misadventure.
Earlier, Mr Ryan's former partner , Melanie Verwoerd,denied that he had used cocaine in the hours before his death.
When asked by the coroner if "cocaine was ever an issue", Ms Verwoerd replied “absolutely not”.
She said that one of the ground rules of their relationship was that drugs were unacceptable. She was insistent that in the two years the couple were together nothing had been used.
Ms Verwoerd said that the strain of finalizing his separation from his wife, as well of enormous pressure from his job in RTE had begun to take a toll on Mr Ryan. As a result he was constantly waking in the middle of the night feeling very unwell.
She said the broadcaster had told her he was 'totally banjaxed'.
Speaking after the verdict in Dublin, Ms Verwoerd said she believes her partner had kept his promise not to use drugs until the night of his death and added that the toxicology report had come as a huge shock to her.
Mr Ryan's former wife Morah and his son Rex were also present at the inquest. In a statement released after the inquest she said that even as a broadcaster, her husband had struggled to communicate.
She said: “If today is to mean something, it is to offer encouragement. If it is to have a message it is that there is always someone to share your problem with, someone to offer professional advice and someone to shine light into your life when you need it most.
“There is always someone to ask. That is the simple message Gerard would have dearly wished from today.”