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Death of ’60s Pop Star Ruled Accidental

July 18, 1991

LONDON (AP) _ Pop star Steve Marriott of the 1960s group Small Faces took a large quantity of Valium and alcohol on the night he died in a house fire, a coroner said today. The death was ruled accidental.

Marriott’s body was found on April 20 in the burned wreckage of his 16th century cottage near Saffron Walden, 44 miles northeast of London.

Coroner Malcolm Weir said there was no evidence the 44-year-old musician had tried to take his own life.

Marriott was a guitarist and singer with the rock band Small Faces. The group had one of its biggest hits, ″Whatcha Gonna Do About It,″ in 1965.

When the group split in 1968, Marriott joined Peter Frampton to form Humble Pie. He began a solo career in 1976.

Weir said Marriott died of carbon monoxide poisoning due to smoke inhalation. He said the Valium and alcohol would have put Marriott into a deep sleep, although the sedative effect would have been slightly lessened by the small amount of cocaine found in Marriott’s blood.

Keith Dunatis of the Essex Fire Department told the inquest the fire apparently was caused by a smoldering cigarette or possibly a candle, which Marriott used for reading in bed.

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