Parents pay tribute to 'rising star' son after death in hotel

Norfolk Coroner's Court, at County Hall in Norwich.

Norfolk Coroner's Court, at County Hall in Norwich. - Credit: Stuart Anderson

The parents of a 29-year-old man who died after taking drugs have paid tribute to him. 

George Whitaker, who lived at Meadow Way in Sheringham, died while staying in a Norwich hotel room on May 12 last year. 

At an inquest into his death today (March 28), senior coroner Jacqueline Lake reached a conclusion of 'drug-related death', noting Mr Whitaker had traces of cocaine and Venlafaxine - a medicine for depression and anxiety - in his system.

His parents said: "It should go without saying we loved our son very, very much. For us, the sun rose and set with him.

"His passing has left a huge, gaping hole in our lives and we miss him more than we could describe." 

They said that although Mr Whitaker had been through mental health struggles in the past, he was positive and optimistic at the time of his death. 

They said: "We had finally begun to see a bright future for him again."

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The hearing at Norfolk Coroners' Court was told Mr Whitaker was a foreign exchange trader and was described as a "rising star" in the field. 

He worked at a bank in London until 2017, when he started to suffer from anxiety and depression, and then moved in with his parents in Sheringham.

He then started his own foreign exchange company working from home, and also managed two rental properties in Norwich, and was a dance music producer.

When he died, Mr Whitaker had been due to start a new job in London, training others in foreign currency exchange.

He was staying at the Travelodge in Queens Road, Norwich, and his body was found in his room when his parents went to the hotel after becoming concerned about him. 

Mr Whitaker had been getting help from a psychiatrist, and from the charity Change, Grow, Live. 

The medical cause of death was given as drug toxicity. 

In giving her conclusion, Mrs Lake said: "There is no evidence that George had any intention to take his own life. In fact, I would say the opposite is true. He had been making plans for the short term and the long term." 

Mr Whitaker's parents said they wanted to thank everyone who had helped investigate their son's death, and for the compassion they had been shown.