LONDON — A New York City musician who had just arrived in London to work with singer Boy George died today of a drug overdose in a mansion belonging to the pop star who has himself been fighting a heroin habit.
Scotland Yard said Michael Rudetski, 27, died of "respiratory failure due to intake of drugs." A police source said that meant an overdose.
Boy George, known for his outrageous and eccentric feminine attire, had no immediate comment on the death. But his older brother Kevin O'Dowd, who discovered Rudetski's body, said, "This whole thing has been a nightmare."
Boy George, the lead singer of the Culture Club, pleaded guilty last week to heroin possession and O'Dowd faces charges of supplying heroin to his famous brother.
Rudetski's body was found on the floor of the living room in Boy George's $444,000 neo-Gothic house in the northern London borough of Hampstead at 4:30 a.m., police said.
George in recent months had been living in a different home in the Maida Vale section and was not present when the body was found.
Police gave the initial findings of the autopsy but said further tests were needed to determine the quantity and type of drug or drugs found in Rudetski's system.
Rudetski, a synthesizer expert and composer, arrived Monday in Britain to work on new material with Boy George, 25, whose real name is George O'Dowd.
"The idea was that George would go away this weekend for a couple of weeks on a working holiday, write some new songs and do some recording," said an executive for Virgin Records.
He said Rudetski worked with black dance bands in New York, was a composer, and an expert at programming the 'Fairlight' keyboard.