Rik Mayall 'died of acute cardiac event after running'

Barbara Robbin, Rik Mayall's widow, blames heart problem but coroner says more tests needed

Rik Mayal
(Image credit: Hulton Archive/Getty)

Barbara Robbin, the widow of comic Rik Mayall, has said her husband died of an "acute cardiac event" following his morning run. Yesterday, a west London coroner said a post mortem had been inconclusive and more tests are needed.

Robbin, a make-up artist, added that the Young Ones star had been seen by "many people" on the morning of his death and thanked the press for their "discretion".

Mayall was found dead on Monday at his home in Barnes. He was 56.

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According to the Daily Mail, Robbin said: "We now know that our darling Rik suffered an 'acute cardiac event' at our home around midday on June 9th. He had just returned from his usual run and many people had seen him that morning."

She thanked the press "for their discretion" and "all the wonderful coverage", adding: "It would have made him very happy."

"I am sure that you all know Rik's response would be something along the lines of 'Well, thanks very much all of you... Now f*** off!'," she said.

Yesterday, the Daily Telegraph reported the West London Coroner's Court as saying: "The post mortem was done this morning. The tests have proved inconclusive therefore tests are ongoing."

The spokesman added that it would be days or "most probably weeks" before a "conclusive result" would be known.

Mayall suffered from epilepsy as a result of a devastating quad bike accident 16 years ago and Robbin at first suggested this could be the cause of his death. Speaking outside her home on Monday, she said: "He had a strong heart so I don't think it was a heart attack. But we just don't know until the coroner's report."

Rik Mayall dead at 56: tributes pour in

9 June

Rik Mayall, who revolted and delighted television audiences throughout the 1980s and 90s, has died at the age of 56.

He came to prominence in The Young Ones in 1982, in which he played a student with anarchist tendencies. He later starred as politician Alan B'Stard in The New Statesman and, alongside Adrian Edmondson, as Richie in Bottom.

He also made brief but celebrated appearances in Blackadder as the swashbuckling Lord Flashheart.

John Lloyd, who produced Blackadder, led the tributes. "He was the most extraordinarily good actor as well as being an amazing stand-up comic," he said. "Apart from being great company, he was a great professional."

Oh, Lord Flashheart RIP. God I loved you so hard. — Caitlin Moran (@caitlinmoran) June 9, 2014

Mayall's partnership with Edmondson began at Manchester University, and continued throughout his working life.

"His big break came at The Comic Strip Club, performing with comedy partner Adrian Edmondson as 20th Century Coyote in the 1980s which led to cult television hit The Comic Strip Presents," the BBC reports.

"He co-wrote The Young Ones with Lise Mayer and Ben Elton, which shared cult status and schoolboy humour with later sitcom Bottom."

Rik Mayall was just pure wiry, energetic, unpredictable humour poured into the shape of a human. You couldn't not watch him. — Charlie Brooker (@charltonbrooker) June 9, 2014

In 1998 Mayall suffered life-threatening injuries in a quad-bike accident that left him in a coma for several days, but he recovered and returned to work.

"The reasons for his death were not immediately clear, according to The Times. The paper quotes his agent as saying: "He died at home earlier today. That’s all we know. We are all devastated."

The Metropolitan Police said his death was not believed to be suspicious. Officers were sent to his home in Barnes, southwest London, after receiving reports of a sudden death of a man in his 50s. He was pronounced dead at the scene by the London Ambulance Service.

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