What is chloroethane that led to Pop Idol star Darius Campbell Daneshs tragic death

Darius Campbell Danesh's family has spoken out about the Pop Idols star after his autopsy results were published.

Darius, who rose to fame on the hit show in 2002, was found dead in his US apartment in Rochester, Minnesota, last August.

He died from “inhalation of chloroethane”, the Southern Minnesota Regional Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed.

Autopsy documents obtained by the PA news agency listed “toxic effects of chloroethane” as well as “suffocation” as having contributed to his death, which was ruled an accident by the medical examiner.

Chloroethane, commonly known as ethyl chloride, is used in petrol additives, plastics, dyes, pharmaceuticals, topical anaesthetics, and as an industrial refrigerant.

Ethyl chloride became popular as an inhalant street drug in the 1980s. Brief inhalations of the drug can result in dizziness, euphoria, confusion, incoordination, hallucinosis, impairment of short-term memory and narcosis.

Inhalation of higher doses of ethyl chloride may be related to severe depression of the central nervous system, with toxicity and deaths have been reported in the past. It can also damage the liver and kidneys.

Chloroethane is commonly used as a thickening agent and binder in paints, cosmetics, and similar products, and has also been used as a refrigerant, an aerosol spray propellant, an anaesthetic, and a blowing agent for foam packaging. However, it is not currently widely used in any of these roles stated, as reported by WalesOnline.

It is a recreational inhalant drug, and in Brazil it is a major component of a traditional and illegal drug, known locally as 'lança-perfume', which is taken during Carnaval.

However, breathing its vapors at more than 15% percent can be fatal, and if exposed to concentrations higher 6-8% victims often exhibit symptoms such as shallow breathing, loss of consciousness and depressed heart-rate.

Long-term effects of exposure to the drug over a period or four or more hours will cause side effects which are similar to those of an alcoholic hangover, such as dehydration, dizziness, loss of clear vision and temporary loss of consciousness. If no longer exposed to Chloroethane, a victim will return to normal health quickly.

Issuing a statement, Darius' family said it gave them "great sadness to share further information" on their loss.

"The Rochester Police Department have finalised their report following Darius’ death. It gives us great sadness to share further information on the passing of our loving son and brother," they said in a statement to The Scotsman.

The statement continued: ‘"In the days leading up to his death, Darius had been suffering from severe nerve pain in his neck following car accidents in 2010 and 2021, which was progressively “getting worse”. He had taken pain medication, marijuana and chloroethane to manage the intensity of the pain prior to his death."

It went on to say how Darius had enjoyed dinner with friends the night before his death, with them all making plans to meet up the next day.

But when Darius didn't show up, hotel staff were asked to check on him – he was found unresponsive in bed, having inhaled chloroethane using a bag, which led to respiratory arrest.

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