Mick Norcross was 'battling £6.5million cash crisis' before sudden death

Mick Norcross suffered a 'huge' financial blow before he was found dead after facing a £1.5million loss on a luxury housing project because of 'drainage problems' while owing £5.2million in bank loans on his hotel renovation project hit by the coronavirus pandemic and going £1million over budget, MailOnline can reveal today.

The Sugar Hut's ex-owner, property developer and reality star, who rose to fame as the man behind the nightclub on the hit ITV2 series, was discovered at his mansion in Bulphan, Essex, by emergency services on Thursday afternoon. 

Mr Norcross was seen 'looking pale' and 'didn't look too well' at around 8.30am yesterday - just hours before his death, neighbours told MailOnline. 

In a tragic final tweet, posted just before his body was found, he wrote: 'At the end remind yourself that you did the best you could. And that is good enough.' He is survived by his sons Kirk, Mason, Daniel and daughter Hollie. He also has three grandchildren.

Essex Police have not confirmed the cause of Mick's death, or if it was suicide, but said it was not being treated as suspicious. But fellow TOWIE stars and friends have suggested he was battling depression and suicidal thoughts. 

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Mick had sold the Sugar Hut nightclub in 2019 and concentrated on his property businesses. Before his death he was developing the famous Grand Hotel in Leigh-on-Sea near Southend into 18 luxury flats, which remains unfinished.

He was also building five luxury houses in Bulphan, called the Bonham Grange Estate, where the asking price for a five-bedroom property is £1.75million. But some of the properties have been on the market since November 2019 and remain unsold. Mick lived in a mansion in the same village, which he designed and built himself.  He also had an antiques shop in nearby Brentwood.

But sources close to the late building developer told MailOnline Mick was set to make £5million on the Bonham Grange project but due to drainage issues and the financial cost of repairing damage, his payout was expected to be slashed to £3.5million. It is believed the financial loss was the latest in a long line of money issues Mick had suffered over the past two years, made worse by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The source said: 'Mick was struggling. A few of his businesses had become problematic financially and they were seriously worrying him. He was hoping to receive £5million from the Bonham Grange estate which would have provided a timely boost, but drainage issues and the subsequent effect on the development saw his big pay-day slashed by around 1.5million. It was a huge blow to him.' 

Heartbreaking: TOWIE's Mick Norcross was seen beaming next to his son Kirk in his final picture, taken three weeks before he was been found dead aged 57

Heartbreaking: TOWIE's Mick Norcross was seen beaming next to his son Kirk in his final picture, taken three weeks before he was been found dead aged 57

Mick had sold the Sugar Hut nightclub in 2019 and concentrated on his property businesses. Before his death he was developing the famous Grand Hotel in Leigh-on-Sea into 18 luxury flats (pictured today) but owed £5.2m in loans and it was already £1m over budget

Mick had sold the Sugar Hut nightclub in 2019 and concentrated on his property businesses. Before his death he was developing the famous Grand Hotel in Leigh-on-Sea into 18 luxury flats (pictured today) but owed £5.2m in loans and it was already £1m over budget

Mick was also building five luxury houses in Bulphan, called the Bonham Estate (pictured), close to his home. But it is said to have had drainage problems and Mick was looking at making £1.5million less than expected, an insider told MailOnline

Mick was also building five luxury houses in Bulphan, called the Bonham Estate (pictured), close to his home. But it is said to have had drainage problems and Mick was looking at making £1.5million less than expected, an insider told MailOnline

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The executive properties (pictured) have an asking price for a five-bedroom property is on the market for £1.75million. Some have been on the market since 2019

The executive properties (pictured) have an asking price for a five-bedroom property is on the market for £1.75million. Some have been on the market since 2019

Mick Norcross was found dead in his Essex Mansion (pictured today) where his son Kirk is also understood to live. A woman left flowers there today after his death

Mick Norcross was found dead in his Essex Mansion (pictured today) where his son Kirk is also understood to live. A woman left flowers there today after his death

Flowers were also left at the Sugar Hut nightclub in Brentwood, Essex, after the death of businessman Mick Norcross, who owned it until 2019

Flowers were also left at the Sugar Hut nightclub in Brentwood, Essex, after the death of businessman Mick Norcross, who owned it until 2019

Tragic: Mick haunting last tweet, posted on Thursday morning at 7.17am, read: 'At the end remind yourself that you did the best you could. And that is good enough.'

Tragic: Mick haunting last tweet, posted on Thursday morning at 7.17am, read: 'At the end remind yourself that you did the best you could. And that is good enough.'

TOWIE's Mario Falcone reveals Mick Norcross was 'the only one from the show to reach out' during his battle with depression 

Supportive: Mario Falcone has spoken out about how Mick Norcross reached out to him during the height of his battle with depression on Thursday

Supportive: Mario Falcone has spoken out about how Mick Norcross reached out to him during the height of his battle with depression on Thursday

Mario Falcone has spoken out about how Mick Norcross reached out to him during the height of his battle with depression back in 2012, following the businessman's tragic death on Thursday.

The TOWIE star, 32, paid tribute to his former co-star, who was pronounced dead at his home in Essex by emergency services on Thursday afternoon aged 57. 

Mario, who starred on the show between 2011 and 2018, said he looked up to Mick 'in the highest regard', after the businessman reached out to him when Mario tragically tried to take his own life eight years ago.

Grieving: The TOWIE star, 32, paid tribute to his former co-star, who was found dead at his home in Essex by emergency services on Thursday afternoon aged 57

Grieving: The TOWIE star, 32, paid tribute to his former co-star, who was found dead at his home in Essex by emergency services on Thursday afternoon aged 57

The television personality previously spoke about how he tried to commit suicide during the height of his fame after a painful and televised split with his ex-fiancee Lucy Mecklenburgh. 

Sharing a photo with former Sugar Hut owner Mick, Mario wrote: 'This one is very hard to accept. I had so much respect and admiration for this man.

'I had the honour of filming with him a lot on TOWIE and also to be good friends away from the show.

'When I went through my battle with depression and suicide you were the only one from the whole show that reached out and cared about me. You were someone I looked up to and held in the highest regard. The thought of you going through the same pain and emotional darkness I did breaks my heart.

'You will be sorely missed by so many!

'Thank you for the many memories in the sugar hut, the wild parties, the advice and dropping me off to get my R8. The world has lost a very good man.

'RIP Mick Norcross.'

 

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Three cars - including one thought to belong to Mick’s son Daniel - left the family home today at 2.30pm.

They friends and relatives declined to comment.

Well wishers have been dropping off condolence cards and flowers throughout their day.

Mr Norcross also owed £5.2 million in bank loans on his hotel renovation project, accounts show. The businessman's company 460 Leisure Ltd is restoring The Grand Hotel in Leigh-On-Sea in Essex.

Speaking last year, Mick, 57, revealed that the restoration project was coming in more than £1million over budget. And then the pandemic took hold, delaying the opening.

His firm said in April last year that they hoped to finish the project in 'circa 18 months'.

Accounts for 460 Leisure filed in November, showed that the firm was £984,908 in the red and the books said bank loans stood at £5,216,666 for 2019 – up from £2.6m the previous year. The outfit had just £3,600 in its coffers at the time the figures were compiled.

Mick said of the project a year ago: 'There is still work to be done with the building of the five storeys and we have had a lot of steelwork to do on the foundations'.

He also noted that the hotel chimneys had been deemed to be not safe enough to keep and new ones would be built. 'Nevertheless, we are getting on with the work, but it will cost us over £1million above our original estimate,' Mick explained. 

A local friend told MailOnline: 'Mick walked past and said 'good morning'. He was always a lovely, polite man. But my daughter said that he didn't look too well and was pale as he went past. He was found dead just a matter of a few hours later'.   Two police cars and two ambulances were seen outside Mick's property yesterday at around 3.30pm where he was found dead. 

Former TOWIE co-stars Mark Wright and Mario Falcone hinted that Mick was battling depression and suicidal thoughts, which have increased markedly, especially amongst men, during repeated national lockdowns since last March. 

Mr Wright tweeted: 'Such a gent. We lost a good one. Let this be ANOTHER reason to check in on people and ask if they are ok. It's imperative we talk. Love to Kirk and the rest of the family. such sad news.' 

Mario wrote on Instagram: 'When I went through my battle with depression and suicide you were the only one from the whole show that reached out and cared about me. You were someone I looked up to and held in the highest regard. The thought of you going through the same pain and emotional darkness I did breaks my heart'.  Gemma Collins said: 'You never know what someone is going through'. 

Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn, an Essex boy and friend of Mick's paid tribute to his 'gentleman' friend and another pal who recently died. He tweeted: 'Two men I know have taken their lives in the last few days. Please if you are struggling, talk to someone close to you', before sharing phone numbers for mental health charities Mind, Samaritans and The Calm Zone.

Twice-married Mick was romantically linked to a number of TOWIE stars including Maria Fowler, Chloe Sims and Gemma Collins, before finding love with his former Sugar Hut Honey, Samantha Keahey, who went on to become the nightclub brand's office. Mick and Samantha were last seen together in early December is a series of Instagram photos that appeared to be in his mansion's garden. 

He previously admitted having having struggles with mental health and his tendency to erect a 'hard exterior' when the going got tough and struggling to talk to family about problems without it 'turning into a shouting match'. 

His son Kirk, 32, who lives with his father, previously revealed that his appearances in the show caused him to consider suicide, telling The Sun in 2019: 'Reality TV turned me into a monster'.

Reality TV shows have come under fire in recent years after a spate of stars committed suicide. Caroline Flack, presenter of fellow ITV2 series Love Island, was found dead aged 40 in her home on Valentine's Day last year.

Mike Thalassitis, 26, and Sophie Gradon, 32, also killed themselves after appearing in Love Island in 2018 and 2019 respectively. And in May 2019, Steve Dymond, 63, killed himself after appearing on The Jeremy Kyle Show, another ITV2 production. 

As well as the Bonham Grange development, Mick was also creating six other executive houses in the same site. Speaking in 2018,

Mick admitted he had 'regrets' getting into the nightclub industry, saying: 'I've probably got regrets about getting involved with the nightclub industry if I'm honest with you, the restaurants and bars.

'When I say regrets, it's been really time consuming and a financial strain to operate those type of businesses. They're not easy.

'Everyone might think that they're glamorous and everyone wants to have a go at owning a bar and that, but they're not easy. It is a tough, tough game to keep on top of. And I invested heavily in that and if I have any regrets...maybe I wouldn't have invested as heavily in that because it's taken its toll on me in terms of the time I've had to put into to it and maybe that time could have been better directed elsewhere'.

Heartbreaking: As well as pictures with Kirk, Mick's girlfriend Samantha Keahey shared a number of shots of the couple, including sweet images taken last month

Heartbreaking: As well as pictures with Kirk, Mick's girlfriend Samantha Keahey shared a number of shots of the couple, including sweet images taken last month

Heartbreaking: Mick is pictured with his girlfriend Samantha Keahey

Heartbreaking: Mick is pictured with his girlfriend Samantha Keahey

Heartbreaking: Mick is pictured with his girlfriend Samantha Keahey, who were last seen together last month

Starring role: The Sugar Hut owner and reality star, who rose to fame as the man behind the nightclub on the hit ITV2 series, was discovered at his home in Bulphan, Essex, by emergency services on Thursday afternoon

Starring role: The Sugar Hut owner and reality star, who rose to fame as the man behind the nightclub on the hit ITV2 series, was discovered at his home in Bulphan, Essex, by emergency services on Thursday afternoon 

Another neighbour told how he had spoken to Mick on Tuesday and said: 'We just had a neighbourly chit chat, that's all really.

'To me he seemed ok, nothing out the ordinary but you don't always know what is going on in people's minds.

'He was with one of his workmen and they were looking into a ditch on the road outside his house. We've had some issues with flooding locally in recent days so it may have had something to do with that.

'But I asked him how he was and he said he was alright and he seemed in fairly good spirits. Mick was such a lovely fella, he'd go out of his way to help you. It's so sad.' 

Mick Norcross was seen beaming next to his son Kirk in his final picture taken three weeks before he was found dead aged 57 as shocked TOWIE stars and friends suggested he was battling a secret bout of depression before he died.  

On January 4, Kirk, 32, shared a selfie on Facebook showing him sitting alongside his grinning father, adding the caption: 'Me and the big man', with a heart emoji.  Mick is survived by his sons Kirk, Mason, Daniel and daughter Hollie. He also has three grandchildren. 

The businessman had

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