A POPULAR comedian died after taking an accidental overdose of nitrous oxide, an inquest heard.

Martin Cassidy’s death was a “tragic accident”, coroner Michael Singleton was told.

Mr Cassidy, 42, was found in his bed at his home in York Terrace, Blackburn, in January by his family who had broken in to the house having become worried after not seeing him for several days.

Mr Singleton said: “The injury causing death was asphyxia, due to nitrous oxide toxicity.

“There is no evidence that he intended to bring about his own demise.

"On the balance of probability the most likely explanation is that it was autoeroticism that had gone wrong and during the cause of that he had lost consciousness due to the nitrous oxide, which killed him.

He told told family: “I understand that this will have been terribly shocking to you and will cause great distress.”

Mr Singleton said that Mr Cassidy, whose real name was Mark, had been watching “adult material” on a laptop.

He was found surrounded by cans of nitrous oxide, or laughing gas.

Mr Singleton recorded a verdict of misadventure.

After the inquest Mr Cassidy’s family said he had “so much to live for”.

Sister June Smith said: “He had so many plans and we still miss him so much.”

Mr Cassidy, who founded and ran the Lock ‘n Load comedy nights in Darwen and Blackburn was found dead on Thursday, January 8.

Last year he qualified as a light-aircraft pilot and he had been described as a “real comedy talent” who had put East Lancashire on the comedy map.

Friend Dave Turquoise, 44, who worked alongside his friend as a street lighting inspector for the Highways Agency in Blackburn, said Mr Cassidy was a “great comedian and a great man”.

Mr Cassidy, a divorcee, was born in Whalley and built up a successful reputation as a comedian in Manchester.