10/05/2012 12:27 BST | Updated 10/05/2012 12:34 BST

Nottingham Forest Owner Nigel Doughty Died From Natural Causes, Coroner Rules

Nottingham Forest owner Nigel Doughty died of natural causes, a coroner ruled today.

The 54-year-old father of four was found collapsed in the gym of his home in Park Lane, Skillington, Grantham, Lincolnshire, on the afternoon of February 4.

An earlier inquest was opened and adjourned for further tests after a post-mortem examination failed to provide a definitive cause of death.

This afternoon, Paul Smith, the assistant deputy coroner for Central Lincolnshire, recorded a verdict of death from natural causes.

Mr Doughty's wife Lucy and daughter Helen were the inquest at Grantham Magistrates' Court.

The coroner heard evidence from Colin Allerston, the coroner's officer for Lincolnshire Police Authority.

Written statements from Doughty's consulting physician Dr Peter Dorrinton, pathologist Dr Ian Scott and Dr Martin Goddard from Papworth Hospital in Cambridge were also read out.

The coroner heard that Doughty told family members he was going to work out in the gym in a separate annex at the property around noon on February 4.

His family had no concerns for his welfare as he was thought to be fit and well.

But Doughty, who saved Nottingham Forest from administration when he bought the club for £11 million in 1999, was found "collapsed and lifeless" just over an hour later at 1.15pm.

Emergency services were called and paramedics attempted to resuscitate him but he was declared dead at the scene.

Today the coroner heard Doughty, who was born in Park Village, east London, had had annual check-ups with Mr Dorrinton Ward since 1998.

His last full medical was in July 2011, the results of which were "very satisfactory". He was deemed well and was on no medication.

He was a non-smoker, a moderate drinker and exercised regularly, the inquest heard.

His blood pressure and cardiogram results were all normal.

Post mortem tests carried out by Dr Scott and Dr Goddard concluded he had died after suffering a sudden cardiac arrest and that the cause of death was sudden adult death syndrome.

Recording a verdict of natural causes today, Mr Smith said: "A post mortem carried out by Dr Ian Scott at the Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham on February 6 proved inconclusive and further inquiries conducted by Dr Martin Goddard concluded the cause of death to be sudden adult death syndrome.

"I am satisfied no suspicious circumstances surround this death.

"It was a case of a natural disturbance or process running its term.

"Nigel Edward Doughty died from natural causes. "

Following the verdict, solicitor Patricia Milner, speaking on behalf of the Doughty family, said: "Nigel's sudden and unexpected death was a huge shock to his family and the past three months have been extremely painful.

"We are therefore very glad that the coroner's findings have put an end to the uncertainty over the cause of death.

"This has given some comfort to us as a family and no doubt to all who knew and loved Nigel.

"Comfort has also come from the enormous amount of support and sympathy exhibited over this difficult time by family and friends, colleagues, and members of the public.

"We are deeply grateful to all of you.

"It has meant a great deal for us to see how much Nigel was loved and respected.

"It would have meant a lot to him too - so thank you.

"We have also been very grateful for the sensitivity that for the most part the public and the press have shown in respecting our privacy during this time.

"Given Nigel's high-profile role, there has been speculation about his death and its impact beyond the family.

"We would ask you to remember that to us Nigel was a husband, a father, and a cherished family member.

"We are therefore grateful for your support but would ask that you continue to allow us the space and privacy to grieve in private."