Shoreditch’s Ace Hotel boss died from drugs and alcohol

Alex Calderwood. Pic: Damon Way

Alex Calderwood before the tragedy. Pic: Damon Way

The inquest into the death of American entrepreneur Alex Calderwood, who was found dead in an East London hotel aged 47, has concluded his death was a result of alcohol and drugs misuse.

The founder of the international Ace Hotel chain was said to be four times over the drink-drive limit and had traces of cocaine and morphine in his system.

Professor Mike Sheaff, who conducted the post-mortem examination said: “There was no evidence of assault or injury and no needle marks caused by intravenous drug abuse.”

Calderwood was in London for business, and was staying at the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch.

Fears for Calderwood grew after his business partner, Kelly Sawdon, failed to get hold of him for three days, Poplar Coroners’ court heard yesterday.

He was eventually found face down on the bed by Sawdon, and was described as being unresponsive and surrounded by drink bottles “littered” in the room.

Sawdon, who had known Mr Calderwood for around 11 years, said in a statement: “I saw him lying at the foot of the bed facing the door so I raced down the stairwell to get the general manager. It was very distressing. It was a shocking surprise.”

The inquest heard that the American had completed a stint in rehab in 2011 after suffering from a serious drug addiction.

Calderwood owned a number of hotels in major cities across the United States and one in Britain, and ran a brand renowned for its style.

Each one was filled with vintage and reconditioned furniture with street art decorat-ing the rooms.

Following Calderwood’s toxicology report, coroner Dr. William Dolman stated: “Alex Calderwood died from a combination of drug and alcohol toxicity – cocaine to name the drug. He was a man who was clearly a high-flier and whose life came to a tragic and unexpected end.”


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