Lil' Chris struggled to cope with fame, inquest is told

Gemma Strong

Almost one year after the tragic death of former Rock School star Lil' Chris, an inquest has taken place to establish the exact circumstance surrounding his death. The 24-year-old – real name Chris Hardman – was found hanged at his home on 23 March last year, and the inquest has confirmed that he did indeed take his own life.

The 24-year-old star, who had a history of depression, was said to have struggled to cope with fame after Kiss singer Gene Simmons made him the lead singer of a student band on Rock School. He was later offered a solo deal and went on to have a top five hit with Checkin' It Out in 2006.

Lil' Chris - Chris Hardman - had struggled to cope with fame

Speaking at the inquest, his mother recalled the moment he was selected for the TV series, and said he was incredibly excited. "He had never mentioned wanting to be a singer, he just said he wanted to be famous," she said, according to the Mirror. "When he passed the auditions, it was clear he really wanted to do it."

But she said he split up from his girlfriend and started experiencing difficulties soon after the release of his first single.

The inquest heard that the star had spent the night before his death "chilling" with friends at his flat in Lowestoft. The following day, he attempted to contact his GP and mental health workers about concerns with his medication but that was no indication he posed a risk to himself.

Coroner Peter Dean, who led the Bury St Edmunds inquest, said it was clear that Chris' death "was an intentional act". He described the star as "a talented young man who found fame at an early age", but added that his success had also "brought pain and problems".

"My thoughts are with his friends and family on the loss of a talented young man in tragic circumstances," he added.