Footballer, 33, who died in his sleep had history of heart problems
The family of a footballer who died in his sleep, aged just 33, have paid an emotional tribute to "a dedicated father, son and brother."
Ben Aspin, a former player with Blackpool FC's School of Excellence, was found dead in bed by his partner at home in Cottam, Preston after a night out.
An inquest heard Ben had been diagnosed with a heart condition as a teenager, something he fought off to become a talented non-league footballer on the Fylde Coast and in Cumbria.
His mother Lorraine Tymon told the hearing in Preston that he had reported feeling very tired in the weeks leading up to his death.
But a consultant pathologist said she found no evidence of a heart abnormality and suggested Ben's death could have been caused by a reaction to taking cocaine during the night out.
Later his family issued a statement saying: "Ben was such a special person, who was so full of life. He brought laughter and joy to so many people.
“He was a hardworking and dedicated father, son and brother. He never failed to raise a smile from any of his friends and family with his lust for life and brilliant impersonations.
“The number of people who turned out to his funeral was testament to the mark he made on this world."
Father-of-one Ben had been on a night out with his partner. She couldn't wake him the following morning and paramedics confirmed he had died.
The inquest heard that because of his previous heart problems, which began as a 16-year-old, a leading specialist in London was asked to help with the post mortem, but found his heart showed no abnormalities.
Professor Mary Sheppard said the cause of death would have been recorded as "sudden adult death syndrome" had toxicology tests not shown evidence of cocaine in his system.
Coroner Richard Taylor concluded that his death was "misadventure" due to a reaction to cocaine.
He said: "The taking of any drug is a risk. We know drugs have side effects. Cocaine is known to be associated with sudden cardiac death, particularly in young men."
After the inquest mum Lorraine Tymon said: "Ben was a good lad and I don't want people to judge him over this. His mates said he didn't normally take cocaine.
"We don't know what happened on this occasion, but it's been devastating for the family. I know what the coroner said, but I still think Ben's death was down to a medical condition.
"He was diagnosed as having a heart problem when he was 16. He felt very tired and couldn't get his breath properly. He spent five years under a specialist for that, but then he was discharged.
"But he kept getting flutters and three weeks before he died he told his partner he was feeling very tired."
Ben's family said he joined Blackpool's School of Excellence as a 10-year-old and, despite the club wanting to sign him, he preferred to play for fun with his mates in local football. He later played for Poulton Town, Keswick FC and Fleetwood Gym.