David died aged 42 in December 2019 (Picture: Twitter)
Reverend Richard Coles has confirmed his husband David died from alcoholism.
The Strictly Come Dancing star’s partner of 12 years passed away in December 2019, with Richard writing on Twitter: ‘I’m very sorry to say that @RevDavidColes has died. He had been ill for a while. Thanks to the brilliant teams who looked after him at @KettGeneral.’
In his new book The Madness of Grief: A Memoir of Love and Loss, Richard explained that David ‘died of drink’ aged 42.
The 59-year-old wrote: ‘It was really, really tough to see somebody you love destroy himself.
‘It is like someone is drowning and you throw them a lifebelt but they are just not taking the lifebelt. And I did try everything I could think of to help him stop drinking, and in fairness to him he did try too, but it was too much for him.
‘The second thing is, it is just very awkward, especially if you are a vicar and you are meant to be unflappable and perfect and my life was not and is not perfect and I wasn’t unflappable when David’s drinking was at its worst.’
Richard said that he believed his husband drank as a coping mechanism, and said that he loved being drunk.
Richard has writtena book about his grief (Picture: Fabio De Paola/REX)
However, his drinking led to Richard finding David unconscious and surrounded by empty bottles, and David soon lost his vicar licence from the bishop.
His alcoholism led to liver damage and on December 13, Richard found David in their guest room – after they stopped sharing a bed – holding onto a bucket of vomit and blood.
As David’s condition worsened, the decision was made to turn off David’s oxygen.
Richard wrote: ‘I often think if someone dies of drink as people used to say, that people filed them under a sort of tragic, squalid death. David was so much more than that.
‘I wanted to get a sense of why David was so important to those who loved him before we got to a discussion of what killed him.’
The former Communards star got permission from David’s family to discuss his illness in his book, and hopes it can help the spouses of addicts.
Richard and David met in 2007 when David, then an A&E nurse, visited the vicar to seek advice about joining the clergy.
However, David made it clear that he was interested in Richard romantically and they began a celibate relationship, getting married in a civil ceremony in 2010.
Richard has been open about his grief and loss in interviews and on Radio 2, and in his Pause for Thought segment in February 2020, he revealed that David had sent him a Valentine’s Day card, three months after his death.
He said: ‘Valentine’s Day, roses and chocolates, dinner for two, a carefully chosen card, with a carefully worded message, awaiting. Did you get one?
‘I did, from my beloved, which came as rather a surprise, not because he is unromantic or forgetful, but because he died in December.
‘With remarkable foresight he arranged for me a Valentine’s card before he departed, and I’m very touched and grateful. And a bit surprised, because in widowhood you think your days of wine and roses are done. Not so.’
Worried about drinking?
Drinkline is the national alcohol helpline. If you’re worried about your own or someone else’s drinking, you can call this free helpline in complete confidence. Call 0300 123 1110 (weekdays 9am to 8pm, weekends 11am to 4pm).