Natanya Brook, a passionate video game player and talented singer, died unexpectedly while playing with pals online, an inquest heard
A semi-professional gamer with epilepsy died suddenly while playing Xbox with her friends late at night.
Natanya Brook, a passionate video game player and talented singer, died unexpectedly while playing with pals online, an inquest heard.
The 23-year-old was part of a semi-pro gaming team and loved singing, having auditioned for The X Factor and The Voice.
Natanya – also known as Tanya – was playing on her Xbox with friends in a virtual reality room the night before and into the morning of her death, staying up until at least 2am last August 1.
HNP Newsdesk/Hyde News & Pictures Ltd)
HNP Newsdesk/Hyde News & Pictures Ltd)
During the middle of a game, Tanya suddenly stopped talking and fell silent, the inquest was told.
The following morning her mum, Jenny Brook, checked her room at their home in Aylesford, near Maidstone, Kent, to find her daughter laying up against the bed, but thought she was asleep.
A few hours later she returned and found her daughter in the same position and knew something was wrong.
She tried CPR and frantically rang the emergency services, but Tanya was pronounced dead by paramedics.
During an inquest at County Hall in Maidstone, the court heard she was a talented gamer who would “light up any room she was in”.
Ms Brook’s mum, Jenny, told the court Tanya’s gaming friends who were playing with her at the time, remembered hearing the gamer suddenly say “ooh, I feel…” and then silence.
Jenny said: “It’s like a light switch went out. That brings me a little bit of peace as I know she wasn’t in any sort of pain as they would have heard it.
“I still have a gaping hole in me and miss her as she was such an amazing bright light in my life.”
Describing about the heartbreak of losing her daughter, who was also her full-time carer, former landlady Jenny told the hearing: “Tanya was my best friend.
“I told her everything and she told me everything. Even some of the things I didn’t want to know.
“She had the best sense of humour, and nobody I know had a bad memory of her.
“Tanya was a real people’s person and could easily stop people arguing. This girl was beyond amazing.”
She also said Tanya was a passionate gamer who played on a team at a “very good” level.
Coroner Bina Patel heard she had been drinking vodka and coke at the time and was last seen gaming by her mum at around 2am on August 1.
Ms Brook had a history of absent and vacant seizures, including having childhood absence epilepsy at the age of six – a condition which results in the sudden loss of awareness and to stare into space for a few seconds.
The condition often put her in danger as a young child where she would zone out, with her mother saving her from harm on a number of occasions, the inquest heard.
A post-mortem report from Dr Deirdre McKenna revealed there were no abnormalities in any of Ms Brook’s major organs and that she was unable to find the exact mechanism which caused her death.
But she found that on the balance of probabilities the medical cause of death was sudden unexpected death in epilepsy.
Speaking about the finding, Jenny Brook added: “We always told Tanya her epilepsy was a diagnosis and not an excuse to not do anything, and that’s how she lived her life.
“She changed people’s lives whether it be encouraging people to sing or making them smile.
“She just had this ability to pull people towards her. I don’t think there is any more she could’ve done in her 23 years.”
Tanya, who was born in Bognor Regis, West Sussex, and regularly visited is known by some as Pickle.
She leaves behind her parents Jenny and Leslie, brother Emmett, her grandmother and many friends and family, the inquest heard.
Coroner Bina Patel gave a narrative conclusion, adding: “Natanya Brook was found in her bedroom at her home address on August 1 where she died of unknown but natural causes, likely because of problems connected to epilepsy.