A MAN died in his sleep at the age of 33 because of a heart defect diagnosed at birth.

Nigel Cox, pictured, had Wolff Parkinson White syndrome, which causes the heart to sometimes miss a beat or beat too quickly.

It also emerged at the inquest in Winchester that he suffered from asthma.

However, medical records at the hearing suggested that he outgrew most of his breathing and heart problems.

He was no longer on regular medication for either condition as an adult, but underwent a routine medical at his surgery last December.

The test did not flag up his heart issue as a cause for immediate concern. Doctors said he had a four-in-100 chance of having some sort of heart problem within the next decade, the inquest heard.

Mr Cox died in his sleep at his home in Longhouse Green, Winnall, Winchester, on February 5.

A post-mortem found that his heart had stopped, and there were no other obvious causes of death.

Tributes have been paid to the warehouseman, who worked for City Plumbers at St Denys in Southampton.

His father, Colin, said: “He was in the Boys Brigade and he the Scouts when he was growing up. He was a quiet man, and a very helpful man, and always kept himself busy.”

Central Hampshire coroner Grahame Short recorded a verdict of death by natural causes.