TRIBUTES have been paid to a father-of-three who died suddenly from a suspected medical episode.

Steven Burdett, 42, from Canvey, was named locally as one of six people who have lost their lives in south Essex in a tragic spate of suspected drug-related deaths.

However, after receiving reports from the coroner, this has now been ruled out and it is thought Mr Burdett died from a suspected heart attack.

To honour his memory, they have now launched a fund-raising page to install a memorial bench on Canvey and for help with funeral costs to ensure he gets the send off he deserves.

His sister Kelsey Burdett said: “Steven suddenly passed away at the family home.

“He wasn’t alone he was with loved ones when he passed.

“He had three children who he adored and was very much a family man. He came from a big family himself.

“He was an outdoors person who loved going down the beach, walks along the sea or Hadleigh Downs with his children.

Southend Standard:

“Steven was a private person but his life was around his family. He just started to learn to fish - something his sons were very much into.”

An investigation was launched last Monday after news broke six people had died from using suspected class A drugs in Southend, Canvey, Leigh, Westcliff and Benfleet.

Since then, Essex Police have arrested two people in connection with possession with intent to supply.

A 26-year-old man from London and a 29-year-old man from Grays were arrested in Barking on Friday afternoon but have released them on bail while the investigation continues.

Kelsey added: “The family are still in shock and hurting in this moment in time. He was so young and he had plans for the future.

"He had no life insurance and young children so the family are not only grieving for the loss of him but financially dealing with the funeral costs.

"For his children’s sake we would want a good send off for him. We are waiting for the coroner’s report for answers so we can mourn privately.”

Rebecca Harris, MP for Castle Point, said: "I am grateful to the Police for very regular updates.

"However I respect that they aren’t necessarily able to make every detail public, as on the one hand bereaved families may want to maintain as much privacy as possible and on the other hand the police are often unable to disclose details which could prejudice a likely criminal investigation.

"In the meantime it remains important that anyone who may have information comes forward to the Police or anonymously to crime stoppers.”

To donate, visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/kelsey-burdett