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American Songwriter Found Dead in Boy George’s Mansion

August 6, 1986 GMT

LONDON (AP) _ Police said a New York musician was found dead of a drug overdose Wednesday in a London mansion owned by Boy George, the British pop singer who recently was treated for heroin addiction.

″It’s a terrible nightmare,″ said Boy George’s brother, Kevin O’Dowd, 26, who discovered the body. ″When’s it all going to end?″

Scotland Yard said Michael Rudetsky, 27, a songwriter and electronic- keyboard player, was found dead shortly before dawn in a rambling Gothic- style house owned by Boy George in the affluent Hampstead district of north London.

Boy George, 25, whose real name is George O’Dowd, was not at the house at the time. Scotland Yard spokesman Nick Jordan said the singer was ″not involved at all.″

The police agency later said, ″We are not treating this death as suspicious. Boy George and his brother Kevin O’Dowd have been interviewed and no further action is foreseen.″

A Scotland Yard statement said an autopsy showed Rudetsky died of ″respiratory failure due to the intake of drugs.″ It said tests were under way to determine what drug was involved.

Jordan said no drugs or drug paraphernalia were found near the body, and there was no evidence ″to suggest violence or criminal activity.″

Rudetsky had flown to London to work with Boy George and his band, Culture Club, said Elly Smith of Virgin Records, the singer’s record label.

She said Rudetsky co-wrote ″Sexuality″ for the band’s latest album, ″From Luxury to Heartache,″ which reached the top 10 in the British and American album pop charts earlier this year.

In New York, a spokesman for the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, Ken Sunshine, said Rudetsky also co-wrote ″Don’t Want You to Be,″ performed in 1984 by the group Rama.

Rudetsky had been staying at Boy George’s house with Kevin O’Dowd, who found him lying unconscious on the living room floor at about 5:30 a.m., Jordan said.

He said no one else was staying at the house, and that O’Dowd summoned police and gave them a statement.

″No one is being sought, no one has been arrested and no one is in custody,″ the spokesman said.

O’Dowd, an unemployed musician, later went to another house owned by Boy George in north London to talk with his brother. Emerging three hours later, O’Dowd told reporters: ″I feel so bad. I found the body. I don’t know what happened.″

Asked if he knew the dead man, Boy George said, ″Of course, I knew him. He was my friend.″

Kevin O’Dowd and three other people were charged July 8 with conspiracy to supply Boy George with heroin. All four are free on bail awaiting trial.

Boy George, noted for his effeminate gowns and makeup, was convicted July 29 of possessing an unspecified amount of heroin and fined $370.

The singer underwent treatment for heroin addiction last month and since has campaigned against drug abuse.

In a radio interview Tuesday night, Boy George said he thought heroin would be easy to control but quickly found that ″it’s the boss.″

Boy George shot to fame in the early 1980s as lead singer of Culture Club.

The band’s first single, ″Do You Really Want to Hurt Me,″ became the No. 1 song in 51 countries. In 1983, the group issued the album ″Color By Numbers,″ which sold more than 10 million copies and included the hit single ″Karma Chameleon.″