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Artist who hid depression took his own life, inquest told

‘Extremely talented’ 48-year-old who suffered with tinnitus had organised for his possessions to be given to friends and family

28 February, 2020 — By Sam Ferguson

Rodolfo Jose Crisafulli-Borreguero

A TALENTED Venezuelan artist described by friends as “the kindest person you will ever meet” took his own life after secretly battling depression and anxiety brought on by a medical condition.

Rodolfo Jose Crisafulli-Borreguero, 48, was found by police and friends in his top-floor flat in Pleshey Road, Tufnell Park, on August 31 last year. He had organised his possessions to be handed out among his friends and family and written instructions to contact his family in Venezuela.

Police found no evidence of drugs in his system, no forced entry to the property and no sign of any foul play.

St Pancras Coroner’s Court heard evidence on Tuesday that Mr Crisafulli-Borreguero suffered with tinnitus that had got worse to the point where it left him with near-constant headaches.

Speaking to the Tribune, close friend Enrica Lam said Mr Crisafulli-Borreguero was an “extremely talented artist”.

“He was one of the kindest people you will ever meet,” she said.

“He was so talented, and did a lot with his art, which was so creative and fresh. He was one of the most loving, compassionate people I’ve had the honour of knowing. We were planning to exhibit our work together, which we have done in the past. I’m now hoping to carry on with that exhibition. He was loved by so many people.”

Robert Ramos told the Tribune he grew up with Mr Crisafulli-Borreguero in Caracas, Venezuela.

An example of Mr Crisafulli-Borreguero’s artwork

“He was always a very good painter and artist,” said Mr Ramos.

“We were very close friends, and he was a very nice person. He didn’t deserve this.”

His inquest heard his friends had become concerned after not hearing from him for two days. He was last seen by friend Michael Bernado outside Camden Town tube station on August 29.

The court heard Mr Crisafulli-Borreguero had been taking medication that left him drowsy to cope with the pain of his tinnitus.

“He seemed normal, but confused because of the medication,” said Mr Bernado, speaking of the last time he saw his friend.

“He almost had an accident with a car because of his drowsiness.”

The inquest later heard evidence from a psychiatric well-being practitioner, who said he spoke to Mr Crisafulli-Borreguero after he was referred to him earlier in the year, but added the artist insisted he did not have thoughts about ending his life.

Mr Crisafulli-Borreguero was due to receive treatment from a high-intensity mental health clinician in September.

In a statement, close friend Ms Lam told the court: “It’s clear to me and other friends that Rodolfo hid his true feelings from everyone.

“He chose not to reveal his true intentions, which we would have surely spent a lot of time and attention on convincing him otherwise.”

Recording a verdict of suicide, coroner Mary Hassell said: “It seems to me all the evidence is pointing in the same direction. That very, very sadly, Rodolfo was hiding his true feelings, and feeling very low had decided to take his own life.”

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