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Mystery of tragic chef; INQUEST: Test for heart defect, relatives urged.

Byline: By Chris Henwood

THE family of a "fit and healthy" Birmingham man who died in his sleep have been urged to take health tests in case they are at risk.

Paramedics found Malaysianborn chef Leong Kam Keong in his bedroom after being called out in the early hours, an inquest was told.

Mr Keong, of Estria Road, Edgbaston, was taken to Birmingham's City Hospital, where emergency staff tried to resuscitate him. They used a defibrillator after finding the 28-year-old's heart was failing, but he was pronounced dead shortly after.

Birmingham's assistant deputy coroner, Sally Scanlon, said it was a case of sudden adult death syndrome after tests found no evidence of physical injury, drug or alcohol abuse.

A post mortem examination by Heartlands Hospital consultant pathologist Dr Simon Trotter uncovered no signs of coronary disease, heart inflammation or blood clots.

Dr Trotter also ruled out epilepsy.

"Mr Keong appeared a fit and healthy man. I'm therefore reticent about giving epilepsy as a firm cause of death."

Electrical problems in Mr Keong's heart may not have shown up in tests, he added.

"If abnormality exists, there is a short circuit and the heart does not beat correctly - this can be genetic.

"I would strongly recommend blood relatives get screened to make sure they haven't got any difficulty in this electrical activity."

Ms Scanlon recorded that Mr Keong died of natural causes.

Family friend James Lee, who was at Wednesday's inquest, said: "Leong was a very normal, nice guy.

"Although the inquest is completed we still don't know what really happened for him to have died at such a young age."

Mr Lee added: "I'll be getting the message to his family straight away - it's important they get tested."
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Apr 25, 2008
Words:288
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