A British rugby league star was found lying unresponsive in an Italian hotel bedroom, an inquest opening heard.
Two-time Challenge Cup winner Ricky Bibey, 40, who lived in OIdham, was found by police in the early hours of 16 July at the Hotel Continentale in Florence.
He had travelled to Italy on 15 July with a 43-year-old woman who was thought to be his partner, Rochdale Coroners Court was told yesterday (Wed).
The woman was found alongside him with serious injuries and was taken to Careggi hospital to be treated, it was heard.
The court was told a post-mortem had not yet provided a medical cause of death, while the results of the post-mortem carried out in Italy have not yet been received.
But police coroner’s officer Bernadette Hatton said how Italian police were called to the hotel where they found Bibey ‘lying on the ground unresponsive’.
The court heard Italian authorities notified Bibey’s father that he’d suffered ‘respiratory arrest’ which was ‘possibly drug-related’.
Greater Manchester Police are investigating the incident, the inquest heard.
Assistant coroner Matthew Cox adjourned the inquest and a full inquest into Bibey’s death will be held at a later date.
Bibey, a former prop, won Rugby League’s Challenge Cup twice in his career, first with Wigan Warriors in 2002 and then with arch rivals St Helens in 2004.
His career also saw him represent Wakefield Trinity in Super League, the sport’s top flight, and took in three stints at Leigh Centurions.