Ex-footballer Chris Thompson's death linked to drink habit

The cause of a former professional footballer’s death may forever remain a mystery but could have been due to alcohol withdrawal, a coroner has said.

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Chris Thompson

Former Bolton, Blackburn and Wigan player Chris Thompson was aged just 52 when he was found at his Tipton home on June 1. Black Country Coroner Robin Balmain said the ex-midfielder, of Anderson Gardens, may have been dead for weeks before his body was found.

Mr Balmain said: “The pathologist was unable to determine a specific cause of death because of the decomposition of the body but he had found sclerosis of the liver. The death was most likely to be related to alcohol – either excessive consumption or withdrawal.”

The midfielder was born in Walsall and began his car-eer at Bolton Wanderers. He also played a three-year spell at Blackburn, making 100 appearances and scoring 26 goals before moving to Wigan Athletic in 1986. He had impressed football commentators and his death drew a number of tributes praising him and his way of playing the game. At Smethwick Coroner’s Court, however, his family revealed him to be a difficult man who struggled with depression. His sister Maureen Bradshaw said: “Until he was ready to see you he would lock himself away.”

Mrs Bradshaw said her brother had struggled with a drinking problem “for quite some time” before his death.

Mr Balmain said: “I’m recording the death as being due to natural causes even though we don’t know what that cause is.”