A prominent businessman who won £50,000 after appearing on the TV show Dragons' Den has died suddenly at the age of 36.
Drew Cockton, owner of successful home fragrance brand, Owen Drew, and founder of the North West LGBTQ+ Business Awards, died at home on on Saturday 22 October.
His death came less than 24 hours after the second LGBTQ+ Business Awards were held in front of hundreds of guests at the Titanic Hotel in Liverpool.
His mum Kate confirmed the news on Sunday 23 October in a Facebook post.
She said "We are truly, utterly heartbroken to have to tell you that our beloved Drew Peter George Cockton (my gorgeous boy) died peacefully at home yesterday.
"We are devastated beyond belief. Life is never, ever going to be the same again. Rest Peacefully darling boy."
Hundreds of people from across Merseyside and the Wirral have paid tribute.
Prominent Liverpool business journalist Tony McDonough has called him a "class act" after recalling how the day after he met him for the first time, a scented candle arrived for him from Drew.
Meanwhile, the team at The Guide in Liverpool, who were on stage with him at Friday's North West LGBTQ+ Business Awards say they are devastated.
Jay Hynd, founder of The Guide wrote: "I can’t get over the thought of someone creating something so beautiful one day, and then being gone the next.
"When we came off stage on Friday he told me how he planned to make next year’s event even bigger, he was excited. Life is so cruel at times."
Drew triumphed on Dragons' Den in 2021 after scooping a £50,000 investment for his luxury scented candle business from "Dragon" Touker Suleyman.
He impressed the Dragons after talking about his previous mental health issues, and explaining why these were the driving force behind the creation of his business, and why the concept of wellness was so important to him.
Viewers watched as Drew began by explaining to the Dragons how at the age of 22, he opened a hotel business on Manchester's Canal Street, quitting his job in financial services "against all the advice of my family" after he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
At the time, he said: "I was totally inexperienced. I was working so hard that I actually made myself quite ill and had a breakdown."
Undeterred by what he described as "failure", Drew started his business from the kitchen table of his home six years ago, making and selling candles on social media.
His candles even got celebrity endorsement, including this from Paris Hilton.
The firm now has its own premises in Birkenhead, producing natural soy wax candles, soy wax melts and luxurious room mists, with all the products made entirely by hand.
In 2021 Drew created the North West LGBTQ+ Business Awards, with the aim of highlighting the enormous contribution the LGBTQ+ community makes to the North West economy.