TOWIE'S Mick Norcross told his son Kirk "I'm better offing myself" over money worries before taking his own life.
Kirk, who also starred in the reality show, feared his dad was dead just days before his body was discovered in a wine cellar in Bulphan, Essex, on January 21.
The businessman, 57, had posted a cryptic message on Twitter hours earlier, which read: "At the end remind yourself that you did the best you could. And that is good enough."
Son Kirk heard his dad tell girlfriend Samantha Keahey: "I don't think I am going to get through this Sam."
He also said to the model he was "fed up" and "I can’t do it anymore, life isn’t meant to be like this".
An inquest into his death in Chelmsford today heard how Mick had been under financial pressure leading up to his death.
The inquest was told Mick was "always down and deflated" and showed "zero interest" leading up to the tragedy.
In a statement, Kirk explained how his behaviour changed during lockdown, saying: "During first lockdown in March 2020 I noticed my dad change.
"He always used to be an early riser, drink tea in the morning and watch the news and have a shower.
"He would always be around family, we were always close. He had positive mindset.
'BLACK CLOUD OVER HIS HEAD'
"He began having lie-ins sleeping until 9am and he seemed down and depressed and seemed to have a black cloud over his head.
"He would make passing comments, 'this money is not worth this agg (aggravation), I'm better offing myself'.
"I never took this seriously – I thought he was just joking."
Mick had also told his partner Samantha he "may have intentionally" taken too much insulin, which was used to treat his type 2 diabetes.
Inspector Neil Armstrong, from Essex Police, said Kirk mentioned Mick, who was involved in several property developments, was "under pressure".
He had taken out a £3.6 million bank loan, a bridging loan secured against his main residence and there was "at least another million needed to finish at least one of the developments", Mr Armstrong said.
He told the hearing: "It’s clear to me from what has been explained there was significant financial difficulties and Mr Norcross was faced with the loss of a lifetime of his work and potentially family home.
"And it appears that was weighing heavily on him."
Sadly Michael was overcome by a low mood and feeling unable to cope and sadly he acted on impulse and carried out this out which ended his life.
The inquest heard no suicide note was found at the scene but Mick's final tweet was described as "an expression of some sort".
Samantha told the hearing Mick had sold three of his cars and cashed in his private pension early after his projects overran last year.
She explained he was "frightened" by the thought he might not be able to support his family and believed he was being "conspired against".
Samantha added: "He is a humble and down to earth person. Mick didn’t believe he had a lavish lifestyle but put pressure on himself to be the provider.
"It was difficult for him to reveal the situation he was in to tell his family they would have to lose their homes."
The model said the last time she saw Mick alive was when he walked out of his office less than two hours before he was discovered dead.
The hearing was told Mick's behaviour had changed – with Kirk telling a friend "I might lose my dad this week" hours before the suicide.
'OVERCOME BY LOW MOOD'
He said: "I bought two scratch cards on the way back for my father with hope. I went and prayed for my father.
"I then had a nap and woke up and I had two missed calls from dad's partner and a text asking where Mick was.
"I saw family looking at a window in the house my dad lived in. His partner said dad seemed fine before."
Kirk had then had to force his way into the home after he also failed to get hold of Mick.
CCTV showed the 33-year-old using a hammer to smash windows as he frantically searched the property.
When he made his way into a basement through a wine cellar, he discovered his dad hanging.
Samantha, who was at the scene, wept today as the hearing was told of Mick's final moments – including how Kirk tried to give him CPR.
A post mortem into Mick's death previously gave the cause as "suspension by ligature".
Coroner Lincoln Brookes recorded a verdict of suicide and said lockdown could have had a detrimental influence on his mental health.
He added: "Sadly Michael was overcome by a low mood and feeling unable to cope and sadly he acted on impulse and carried out this out which ended his life."
The coroner continued: "He was very much a man full of life and a man full of love and will be very missed I’m sure."
Mick joined the cast of Towie in the early series alongside his son Kirk, 32, Mark Wright and Lucy Mecklenburgh.
The popular TV celebrity caught the eye of Gemma Collins and the pair went out on dates during the early episodes.
He also dated fellow stars Chloe Sims and Maria Fowler.
But in 2013 he revealed he was leaving the show over fears it was damaging the image of his nightclub.
He told The Sun at the time: "My club is an upmarket venue where people come to drink champagne and feel spoiled.
"All these rows they keep filming don’t show the club in a good light and I’m worried it’s putting people off coming, which is the last thing I want.
"I've had enough. I'm out."
He became a property developer after quitting the show and was given the green light to build a dream rural manor house in leafy Essex in 2018.
Mick became a grandad following the birth of his son Kirk's child.
His other son Mason paid an emotional tribute to his dad on the day of his funeral in February.
He said: "I am truly lost for words, you was [sic] my everything, I am so grateful for everything you've done for all of us, you was the best dad a boy could ask for.
"You was such a strong man, there was so many things I wanted to say to you.
"I didn't ever think this day would come that I would have to write this."
He added: "You would always check on me every day, no matter how bad your day was you would keep it strong and I am so happy for that."
YOU’RE NOT ALONE
EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.
It doesn't discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It's the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.
Yet it's rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun launched the You're Not Alone campaign.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let's all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You're Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
- CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
- Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
- Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
- Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
- Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123
Tributes from heartbroken former co-stars also flooded in after the heartbreaking news was announced.
Gemma Collins said she was "absolutely shocked and saddened" by the news.
And Mark Wright said Mick's death was "such sad news" as he posted a touching tribute.
The ex-Towie star said: "You were a great man, an inspiration to many, always so polite and welcoming. Such a gent.
"We lost a good one. "Let this be ANOTHER reason to check in on people and ask if they are ok. It’s imperative we talk.
"Love to Kirk and the rest of the family."
Towie's James Argent said Mick was "a true gentleman" and "very kind man" while Mario Falcone said the news was "very hard to accept".
Referring to his own battle with depression, he said: "You were the only one from the whole show that reached out and cared about me.
"You were someone I looked up to and held in the highest regard. The thought of you going through the same pain and emotional darkness I did breaks my heart. You will be sorely missed by so many!"
Friend Jess Wright expressed her sadness at the shock news, writing: "Terribly terribly sad. Always such a gentleman and so kind."
The stars were offered bereavement counselling to cope with Mick's shock death.
If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, please call the Samaritans for free on 116123.
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