Family pay tribute to Golders Green young cocaine user who died with ‘heart of a 90-year-old’

The 29-year-old man died suddenly from heart disease made worse by taking cocaine

The 29-year-old man died suddenly from heart disease made worse by taking cocaine - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Ima

A 29-year-old who took cocaine socially died unexpectedly from an undiagnosed heart defect made worse by taking the drug.

David Barokh, 29, who lived in Hamilton Road, Golders Green, had complained of chest pains and heart palpitations after taking drugs recreationally in the month before his death on February 27 this year.

Although Mr Barokh smoked cannabis and used cocaine on a regular basis, he was not an addict, the inquest at St Pancras Coroner’s Court heard last Friday.

But a pathologist noted Mr Barokh, who was unemployed, had the heart of a 90-year-old at the time of his death, caused by a genetic heart defect made worse by taking cocaine.

His father said the 29-year-old was “amicable and happy” at about 12.30am on the day he died.

But just under two hours later, Mr Barokh started shaking, had difficulty breathing and could not shut his eyes.

His father called for an ambulance, but by the time the paramedics arrived Mr Barokh was lying at the bottom of the stairs unconscious and without a pulse.

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He was rushed to the Royal Free Hospital in Pond Street, Hampstead, the hospital where he was born, but was declared dead just before 4am.

Deputy assistant coroner, Selina Lynch, returned a verdict of death by non-dependent abuse of drugs.

She said Mr Barokh had died from heart disease brought on by cocaine abuse and coronary artery sclerosis, a condition caused by congested arteries.

The fact Mr Barokh was overweight may have also contributed to his premature death.

Ms Lynch said: “This young man had a congenital heart problem making a bad situation worse by using cocaine.

“What other young people could get away with when taking recreational drugs, David sadly could not.

“If young people who took drugs recreationally could see the faces of the family that I can see here, perhaps they wouldn’t take them.”

A statement from the family, issued after the inquest, said: “David was a bright, warm and kind young man.

“We are all devastated at his death, and we miss him hugely.”

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