Hockney aide - finding death cause "could take weeks"

LONDON Tue Mar 19, 2013 5:37pm GMT

British artist David Hockney poses in front of a detail of his painting ''The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 (twenty-eleven)'' at the Royal Academy of Arts in London January 16, 2012. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

British artist David Hockney poses in front of a detail of his painting ''The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 (twenty-eleven)'' at the Royal Academy of Arts in London January 16, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Luke MacGregor

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LONDON (Reuters) - Determining how an assistant of renowned artist David Hockney died could take weeks, police said on Tuesday as pathologists carried out a post mortem on the body of Dominic Elliott.

Elliott, 23, was rushed to hospital from his employer's home in Bridlington, east Yorkshire early on Monday and later died.

A Home Office post mortem was not expected to end until early Tuesday evening, police said in a statement.

"Whilst it is hoped this may provide some clues as to the cause of Mr Elliott's death, results from post mortem examinations are not always conclusive and it may then take several more weeks for complete results to be available to provide a pathologist with the information required to identify any cause," the statement added.

Humberside police are treating the death as unexplained and Hockney himself has been too upset to comment.

On Monday, police said there had been no signs of violence on Elliott's body.

Hockney's publicist, Erica Bolton, said the artist was devasted by the death of Elliott who had worked as an assistant in the artist's studio in Bridlington and had been painted by him.

"He worked for him for over two years and was a hugely valued member of the team," she told Reuters.

Tributes were paid to Elliott by the Bridlington rugby club, where he played in the first and second teams.

"He will be sadly missed by all the players and Club members," said a statement on the club's website.

Hockney, 75, famous for his colourful landscapes and portraits, is one of Britain's most influential living artists who was an important contributor to British pop art.

He was born in the northern city of Bradford in 1937 and spent decades in the United States. But he now lives in the seaside town of Bridlington and has spent the last few years painting the landscapes of the East Yorkshire Wolds.

A major show of Hockney's landscapes at the Royal Academy last year, titled, "A Bigger Picture", attracted more than 600,000 people.

(Reporting By Shadia Nasralla, editing by Steve Addison)

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