Darius Campbell Danesh death: What is chloroethane?

Former Pop Idol star Darius Campbell Danesh died from “inhalation of chloroethane,” a medical examiner’s office has confirmed.

The singer and actor died in his apartment in the US state of Minnesota on 11 August, at the age of 41.

Autopsy documents released by the southern Minnesota regional medical examiner’s office listed “toxic effect of chloroethane” as well as “suffocation” as causes of death.

The death has been ruled as an accident, and local police said they found “no signs of intent or suspicious circumstances”.

Danesh was most widely known for his appearance on Pop Idol, finishing in third place in the programme behind Will Young and Gareth Gates. He later went on to have a successful career in musical theatre.

Young has paid tribute to Danesh following his death, describing the Scottish singer as “top of the pile”.

“For the past few days, my thoughts have been with Darius’s family and will continue to be so,” Young wrote on Instagram, alongside a picture of himself and Danesh. “I found this picture a while ago taken during Pop Idol.

“If there was ever an example of not giving up on your dreams then Darius is top of the pile. Driven, courageous and gentle. My love goes to his family at this time.”

What is chloroethane?

Chloroethane is a colourless gas that has a characteristically sharp smell. Commonly known as ethyl chloride, it is used in paints, dyed and petrol additives and as a topic anesthetic.

Cases of people using the drug recreationally were first reported in 1980.

The effects of the gas on the human body depend on the concentration inhaled.

Inhaling the gas can result in dizziness, a feeling of euphoria, confusion, incoordination and hallucinations.

At concentrations between three to five per cent, the symptoms are similar to alcohol intoxication.

Exposure to concentrations between six to eight per cent results in shallow breathing, loss of consciousness and a depressed heart rate.

At higher concentrations of 15 per cent or more, breathing in chloroethane vapours is often fatal.