Frederick Herbert, who lived in Melrose Avenue, Worthing, died on May 6, an inquest at Crawley Coroner’s Court heard on Tuesday (July 2).
The 87-year-old had always enjoyed good health, the inquest was told, but over the last five years he had to attend Worthing Hospital once a month to have fluid drained from his lungs.
Mr Herbert, a retired bricklayer, collapsed in his bedroom at home in February and contracted a chest and urine infection and ‘never really recovered’, the inquest heard.
He had an MRI scan and was due to go to Worthing Hospital for the results, but by that time he was ‘bedridden’.
A GP came to visit him instead and he was diagnosed with mesothelioma – a type of cancer that develops in the lining that covers the outer surface of some of the body’s organs. It is usually linked to asbestos exposure.
Mr Herbert’s family said he ‘gave up’ after the diagnosis and he was too weak to speak of any asbestos exposure, the inquest heard.
A post-mortem examination found the main cause of death to be mesothelioma.
Ischemic heart disease – heart problems caused by narrowed heart arteries – also contributed to his death.
Assistant coroner for West Sussex Lisa Milner recorded a conclusion of natural causes.
She said: “After careful consideration, I am satisfied, on the balance of probabilities, that Mr Herbert contracted mesothelioma, which was diagnosed at the post-mortem, and he sadly died at his home on May 6, although there is no evidence of exposure to asbestos at work. I therefore record a conclusion of natural causes.”
Mr Herbert was widowed. His wife, Pamela, a retired host wife, died in December last year from motor neurone disease.
The couple, who married in 1954, always lived in West Sussex. They moved down to Worthing and stayed ever since.