Maidstone musician Tim Fenton dies when sleep disorder blocks airways
Father-of-five Tim Fenton who died at home in Loose
A musician died after suffering for almost 10 years with a disorder that stops people breathing during their sleep - because he was overweight.
Father-of-five Tim Fenton was found dead at his home in Carman's Close, Loose, near Maidstone.
The 55-year-old, who had sleep apnoea, had worn a special breathing monitor at night for several years. It is not know if it had been connected on the evening he died.
His body was found in his bedroom by his landlord at the address where he had been living for two months.
Divorced Mr Fenton, who was also a photographer, was overweight and an inquest into his death ruled cause of death as an enlarged heart (cardiomegaly) with sleep apnoea, with a high body mass index as a contributing factor.
Pathologist Dr Olaf Biedrzycki said despite its proportions, Mr Fenton's heart was healthy and he could find no reason for its size.
He told the court at Archbishop's Palace, Maidstone: "Given that he was overweight and given his build and the fact that it was a nocturnal death, sleep apnoea is a recognised cause."
Mr Fenton's brother, David, said he was diagnosed with the condition in May 2004.
Speaking after the hearing, he said: "His death was a surprise and a shock to everyone.
"He had appeared to be happy and in good health when he spoke to one of his daughters the night before. He was a loving father."
The inquest was heard at the Archbishops Palace in Maidstone
Mid Kent and Medway coroner Patricia Harding ruled that Mr Fenton - a long-time member of the Sidcup Symphony Orchestra - died of natural causes on Monday, April 1.
Sleep apnoea causes the muscles and soft tissues in the throat to relax and collapse sufficiently to cause a total blockage of the airway.
Around 4% of middle-aged men in the UK and around 2% of middle-aged women suffer from the condition.
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