Tragedy has struck the British art world after a 23-year-old assistant to the celebrated artist David Hockney, a personal favourite of the Queen, died after being taken to hospital from the artist's home in Yorkshire, England in the early hours of yesterday morning.
Police are saying that the death of Dominic Elliott, 23, is currently “unexplained”, but they are awaiting the results of an autopsy tomorrow which could shed more light on the circumstances surrounding the young man's death. Violence has been ruled out.
Mr Elliott is a local man who was recruited by the 75-year-old artist to help with a series of works based around the seaside town of Scarborough, where Hockney has been based for much of each year since returning from Los Angeles in the late 1970s where he created his celebrated seies of swimming pool pictures. He also helped with setting up equipment and exhibitions.
Hockney painted a portrait of Mr Elliott in 2008, sitting on a chair in a blue t-shirt and blue jeans.
Mr Elliot was taken to Scarborough hospital yesterday morning in a “serious condition” and died shortly afterwards.
A spokesman for Humberside Police said: “Police were contacted by Scarborough General Hospital, shortly after 0600 hrs yesterday morning, after a Bridlington man had been taken to the hospital by a friend from an address in Bridlington in a serious condition.
"The circumstances of the man's death are not clear and officers are currently undertaking enquiries to establish events leading to his death.
"There were no signs of violence and a post mortem examination is due to take place tomorrow which is hoped may provide further information
The 75-year-old was the subject of a major exhibition at the Royal Academy in London, considered one of the highlights of the cultural year. He was created a fellow of the Order of Merit by the Queen. Admission to the Order is the personal gift of the Queen and limited to a total of 24 members at any one time.
Hockney and his long-term John Fitzherbert, were photographed together by the magazine Out two months ago.