A Manchester United fan who changed his name to ERIC CANTONA died one day before his beloved team lifted the Premier League trophy – because he was too FAT, an inquest heard.
Tragic Eric, 28, whose real name was Ben Gormley, was found dead at his home by a neighbour on Saturday May 11 – 24 hours before Sir Alex Ferguson’s last game at Old Trafford.
An inquest heard Eric died when his organs failed due to a medical condition which caused his weight to balloon to 30 STONE.
Worcestershire Coroner’s Court was told on Tuesday (13/8) Sir Alex even sent a signed letter of condolence to the family after Eric passed away.
The super-fan was so dedicated to the club he switched his name by deed poll in 2010 in honour of the French striker and one of the club’s most famous players.
Eric, from Worcester, had been a life-long sufferer of an underactive thyroid and had been taking thyroxine since birth.
But an autopsy revealed the hormone drug was not in his system when he died and that he had not taken the medication for some time.
Worcestershire coroner Geraint Williams said weight gain was a side-effect of this and he died when his organs could no longer cope with his huge body mass.
The cause of death was given as cardio-respiratory failure caused by morbid obesity and Mr Williams ruled he died of natural causes.
Speaking after the inquest, Eric’s parents paid tribute to their son.
Dad Wayne, 52, said: “He was one of the few people I haven’t heard a bad word against.
“He was polite and kind.”
Mum, Deborah Hale, 52, said Eric’s love for Manchester United began from a young age.
She added: “We used to get some looks when his name was called out for appointments, but it was quite funny really.
“There were a lot of people at his funeral and we received a signed letter from Sir Alex Ferguson.
“It was really nice to get that.
“Ben was about three when he first got into Man United and he just loved them from day one.
“He was an avid fan of football and of music.
“He was very funny.
“He had a very dry sense of humour and he really loved comedy.”
Verdict: Natural causes.