THE cause of the death of a popular musician at his flat in Leek will remain a mystery.
Chris Bridgett, aged 53, was found by police in his flat above a shop in Market Place, Leek, on June 12.
The bass guitarist, who performed in a number of bands around Leek over the years, had not been seen for at least three days.
An inquest into his death on Wednesday, September 3, was unable to establish the cause of his death.
North Staffordshire Assistant Coroner Anthony Curzon said: “I can be satisfied this gentleman did not take his own life.
“There was no evidence of any excessive drinking, nothing to say he had been involved in drugs.
“I’m going to have to say I don’t know and the pathologist doesn’t know.
“I am going to have to record an open verdict – but everything is leading to natural causes’.”
The only potentially significant finding following a postmortem examination was an enlarged liver.
The inquest heard Mr Bridgett, a former pupil of St Mary’s Catholic School and Painsley Catholic College, had worked at a clothing factory in Leek, before being made redundant the day before he got married.
He then worked as a long distance lorry driver for over 30 years.
Mr Bridgett was a keen music fan and he performed in a number of bands including Favourite Shirt and Commitments Two, and more recently blues group Crawlin From The Wreckage.
Last year he wrote and recorded the song, Do It For Heroes, to raise money for Help For Heroes.
In a statement read out on behalf of Mr Bridgett’s father, John Bridgett, he said he believed he saw his son in Leek, but from a distance, three days before his body was found.
Friend and band mate Charles Middleton, aged 53, of Geoffrey Avenue, Leek, said: “He was an accomplished musician and a very highly regarded bass player.
“The last performance we had was on May 3. We noticed he wasn’t his normal self; he didn’t seem particularly well.
“We said to him we would keep June free and not perform or practice.
“He had a hospital appointment and we said have the month off to get yourself sorted.”
Speaking after the inquest, Mr Middleton said: “He was a very good bass player and he toured with a number of bands. He had been semi-professional. He was especially proud of his Help for Heroes song.
“He will be very much missed by a lot of people. The band will carry on – he would be most annoyed if we didn’t.”