Jonathan Cainer died of heart disease with his use of cocaine “highly likely to have been a contributory factor”, an inquest heard.
The world famous astrologer died on May 2 after he was found collapsed at his home in Fulford Park, York. He was 58.
The inquest heard that he had spent the evening of May 1 at home with his wife Susan. A statement from Mrs Cainer said that her husband had drunk two rum and cokes that evening.
She went to bed at 10.30pm but Mr Cainer had gone to the office room because he wanted to edit some film they had taken.
Ten minutes later Mrs Cainer “went to say goodnight and found Jonathan lying on the floor”.
He was unconscious. An ambulance took Mr Cainer to York Hospital where he was certified dead at 12.25am on May 2, 2016.
In her statement Mrs Cainer said she had noticed a “small bag of white powder” in the office room that she hadn’t noticed before, and said her husband used cocaine once a month.
Dr Andrew Clarke, a consultant pathologist at York Hospital, carried out the autopsy on May 4, and submitted a report to the coroner the following month.
At the inquest at New Earswick Folk Hall on Wednesday (August 31), he said that Mr Cainer’s cardiovascular system showed abnormalities.
Deposits of fatty material had narrowed his coronary arteries by 80%. That results in reduced blood flows to the heart and can lead to heart attack, he told the inquest.
The inquest heard that Mr Cainer had had a heart attack in March 2015.
A report from Roar Forensics Ltd by Dr Collin Seneviratne, forensic toxicologist, revealed the presence of cocaine in the blood and urine.
Also present was cocaethylene, the chemical formed when people use cocaine and alcohol together.
Dr Clarke said: “There was cocaine use and alcohol consumption at the same time, some time prior to death.”
The use of cocaine can cause an abnormal rhythm of the heart, he said.
Jonathan Leach, York’s senior coroner, asked if Mr Cainer hadn’t taken cocaine, would the outcome have been any different?
Dr Clarke said: “That’s an interesting question.” His autopsy had shown Mr Cainer was suffering from significant heart disease.
“It’s true that, for many people, that alone would have been sufficient to account for a sudden death.
“However, against that, there was also cocaine present.
“My view is that it’s highly likely that the cocaine effect will have had some part to play in death in this case.”
Dr Clarke said he could not say whether Mr Cainer would have died on the day he did if he hadn’t taken cocaine.
But he added: “The presence of cocaine is highly likely to have been a contributory factor.”
Dr Clarke’s post mortem gave as the cause of death:
1a) ischaemic heart disease (also known as coronary heart disease)
1b) coronary atheroma (hardening of the arteries)
Mr Cainer’s brother Daniel asked the pathologist about the amount of cocaine present in Jonathan’s body.
Dr Clarke said: “The ROAR forensics state that they didn’t determine the precise level, other than they knew it was a relatively low concentration.
“It was in the blood and urine, so it must have been relatively recently taken. But we don’t know what period prior to death he had taken it.”
He added: “It could have been a very small amount immediately prior to death, or it could have been a larger amount further back.”
The inquest heard that Mr Cainer had been using cocaine “over a significant period of time. He would take it about once a month in small quantities.”
Mr Leach said that the toxicology report said that the low concentrations of the drug did “not indicate an overdose before death”.
That “suggests recreational use rather than excessive use”.
Jonathan’s daughter Jemima Cainer said: “Considering the state of my father’s health, any use of cocaine no matter how ‘small’ would be excessive.
“Levels of cocaine which would indicate recreational use in an otherwise healthy person are not comparable to my father’s long term history of drug use or heart condition.”
The coroner delivered an open conclusion to the inquest.
‘He was always a maverick’
After the inquest, Jonathan’s brother Daniel said:
Had he lived on the very straight and narrow he would not have had the breadth of emotional experience, understanding and empathy which made him able to communicate with so many, on such a deep level.
You might say that the wisdom and insights that he undoubtedly provided were also messages to himself.
He was a warm, effusive, generous and funny man, a well as being a complex and contradictory one who lived his life to the full. He had a unique and remarkable gift.
He was always a maverick, and I miss him.
Millions of people around the world read Mr Cainer’s horoscopes day.
In the UK he wrote astrological predictions six days a week for the Daily Mail. He also wrote forecasts for major newspapers around the world, including the Sydney Daily Telegraph in Australia, the South African Times and the Toronto Star in Canada.
His predictions were also published in Turkey, Thailand and Malaysia. They have been translated into Chinese, Japanese, Italian and German too.
His daily, weekly and monthly forecasts have been read by numerous followers on his website.
It has been estimated that more than 12 million people follow his predictions. He has been called the “world’s most trusted astrologer”.
Jonathan trained his nephew Oscar, son of Daniel, in astrology for several years before his death. His intention had always been that Oscar would take over from him.
Jonathan leaves a widow, Sue, and eight children