A businessman who won a £50,000 investment on the TV show Dragons’ Den has died suddenly at the age of 36.
Drew Cockton, who owned home vegan fragrance and candle brand Owen Drew, died at home on Saturday 22 October.
Confirming the news in a Facebook post, his mother Kate wrote: “We are truly, utterly heartbroken to have to tell you that our beloved Drew Peter George Cockton (my gorgeous boy) died peacefully at home yesterday.
“We are devastated beyond belief. Life is never, ever going to be the same again. Rest peacefully darling boy.”
She also shared a photo of her son, looking happy and relaxed in a sunny garden.
Mr Cockton, who was also founder of the North West LGBTQ+ Business Awards, died just hours after the second LGBTQ+ Business Awards were held at the Titanic Hotel in Liverpool.
Celebrities paid tribute, with Paris Hilton, who was a fan of his candles, writing on Instagram: “You were such a light.”
Along with a short video, showing her with Mr Cockton, and a photo of him with his candles, she wrote that she was “devastated,” adding “so kind with a heart of gold… my heart breaks for his loved ones and family”.
Dragons’ Den entrepreneur Touker Suleyman, who backed Mr Cockton on the BBC reality show, and invested £50,000 in his brand, also said he was “devastated by the news”.
Suleyman wrote on Instagram: “Drew came to Dragons Den and won my investment in his candle and fragrance business. Young man with drive, passion, business acumen, with plenty of energy. He will be missed by his family and us. Rest in peace Drew.”
Meanwhile, the team at The Guide in Liverpool, who were on stage with him at Friday’s North West LGBTQ+ Business Awards said they were also devastated.
In a tweet, they said: “He brought so much love and joy to the winners, nominees and the entire room at his event, #LGBTQBusinessAwards on Friday. Rest in peace and shine bright Drew.”
A BBC spokesperson said: “The Dragons’ Den team are very saddened to hear that Drew has passed away. Our thoughts are with his friends and family at this time.”
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The young entrepreneur had impressed the Dragons, talking about his previous mental health issues, and why the concept of wellness was so important to him.
Despite being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, he had quit his job in financial services, eventually going on to start his successful candle business from his kitchen table.
His vegan fragrance brand, Owen Drew, offers some of the world’s most expensive oils and perfumes, producing natural soy wax candles – costing up to £750 – soy wax melts and luxurious room mists, all handmade in Birkenhead, in Wirral, Merseyside.
Drew’s cause of death has not been announced.