Shock death in Hong Kong

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AN APPARENTLY ‘fit and healthy’ company director died suddenly, while on a business trip to Hong Kong.

Mexborough-born Stephen Hill, most recently of Cockhill Field Lane, Braithwell, was found dead on a hotel bedroom floor on September 25 last year.

He was discovered by hotel staff after his colleague Bob Burden, the British representative of a Chinese company, became concerned.

An inquest in to the death of the 55-year old former joiner and shop fitter who became a project manager then director of his own construction company, took place at Rotherham.

Deputy Coroner Fred Curtis revealed how post-mortem results from Dr Tsang Chak-Chi showed Mr Hill to have unusually heavy heart, weighing 481 grammes, and significant ischaemic heart disease that led to his death. This was agreed after a second post-mortem by by Dr Kim Suvarna at Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital.

Mr Hill’s arteries were seen as severely congested with his left descending artery about 90 per cent blocked. This would usually result in a fatal condition, the inquest was told.

Stephen had been married for almost 24 years. His widow Gillian said he seemed fit and healthy, apart from a frozen shoulder and some ‘heartburn’ in recent months.

They last spoke on September 23, when Stephen said he “felt rough” with toothache at the back of his jaw. In the early hours of September 25 Gillian was informed of his death.

She later spoke to Bob Burden who told her he and Stephen had enjoyed a meal out the previous evening, then had agreed to pursue separate interests the next day.

Mr Curtis said there was clearly a “significant problem with Mr Hill’s heart.” He had some history of neck pain and indigestion that point strongly to angina, said the Coroner. “They can be symptoms that are misinterpreted but are the forerunners of an acute cardiac condition and sometimes death.“ He added, as he recorded a verdict of death by natural causes: “It is not the first time someone seemed well while carrying a potentially fatal heart condition. This was obviously a very active man in the prime of his career.”