Belfast Telegraph

Rock star Gary Moore had taken huge amount of booze on night he died

By Gerard Couzens

Legendary rock guitarist Gary Moore died after binging on enough alcohol to put him nearly five times over the drink-drive limit, tests have revealed.

The Belfast-born guitar ace suffered a heart attack brought on by the amount of drink he knocked back at the start of a sunshine holiday in Spain.

The former Thin Lizzy musician was found to have 380mg of alcohol per decilitre of blood in his system — 30mg more than the amount associated with fatalities and just short of the 416mg Amy Winehouse had in her body when she died surrounded by three empty vodka bottles.

The tests also revealed dad-of-three Moore, found dead in bed at a luxury Costa del Sol hotel last February, had abused alcohol for years.

No traces of any illegal drugs were found in his body.

Moore died at the Kempinski Resort Hotel in Estepona hours after starting a six-day holiday with his new partner. Hours earlier the pair were seen washing down a snack at the hotel bar with champagne and brandy. His girlfriend raised the alarm around 4am on February 6 last year.

An initial post-mortem revealed he had died of a heart attack.

Chemical and toxicology studies were carried out at a lab in Seville along with an examination of the musician's cells and tissue samples.

A source involved in the investigation into the musician's death said: “All the tests have been conducted and they show Mr Moore died of heart failure caused by alcohol.

“He had 380mg of alcohol per 100ml (per decilitre) of blood in his body when he died.

“It's a massive amount of alcohol and enough to send most people into a coma. The tests showed he was a heavy drinker and had been abusing alcohol over a period of time. His body just seems to have given up on him that night with all the booze he consumed. He died of natural causes.”

Police confirmed at the time the 58-year-old rocker died they were not treating it as suspicious.

An investigating magistrate who opened a standard inquiry to determine the exact cause of death is now expected to close the probe and pave the way for an inquest in the UK where Moore was living.

The acclaimed east Belfast-born musician, rated as one of the finest guitarists of his generation, was best known for his time in Thin Lizzy.

He played on their hits Waiting For An Alibi and Do

Anything You Want To. He also teamed up with Thin Lizzy frontman Phil Lynott for the Top 10 solo hits Parisienne Walkways and Out In The Fields. Lynott died in 1986 after battling drink and drug problems.

In recent years Moore forged a career as a blues musician, releasing critically-acclaimed albums and performing with BB King and Bob Dylan. Bob Geldof described him as “one of the greatest blues players of all time”.

Thin Lizzy founding member Brian Downey said at the time: “He will always be in my thoughts and prayers.”

The legal limit for driving in the UK is 80mg of alcohol per decilitre of blood. In most European countries including Spain, where drink-drive limits are lower, he would have been nearly eight times over the permitted amount to drive.

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