Patarkatsishvili Had Severe Heart Disease

LONDON -- Georgian opposition leader Badri Patarkatsishvili, who died in Britain, had severe heart disease that made him liable to sudden death, a pathologist told a coroner's inquest Friday.

Patarkatsishvili, 52, collapsed at his home near London and died Tuesday.

The pathologist, Ashley Fegan-Earl, told the inquest that the dead man had significant heart disease, and that it "was of a severity that could have resulted in a sudden and unexplained collapse and death at any time."

Following a short hearing, Surrey county coroner Michael Burgess adjourned the inquest until a date to be determined later. Police said Thursday that detailed toxicological tests were under way but would take several weeks to complete.

Once those tests are complete, the body will be returned to Georgia, the Patarkatsishvili family said in a statement. "We thank everybody who shares our grief. We completely trust the professionalism of the British police and criminal experts," the statement said.

Patarkatsishvili was at his home in Leatherhead with his family when he complained of chest pains, said coroner's officer Camille Juliff.

He went upstairs where he collapsed, and was pronounced dead at 10:52 p.m.

The court was told there was no evidence of any radioactive substance in his body.