Silat star's death a 'tragic misadventure'

The Singapore Silat Federation had regarded Muhammad Nurshahrin Shahrudin (left) as a bright prospect and wanted him to train full-time.
The Singapore Silat Federation had regarded Muhammad Nurshahrin Shahrudin (above) as a bright prospect and wanted him to train full-time.

State coroner: He died after taking cocktail of eight drugs, no evidence of foul play

By the time he was 21, national martial arts expert Muhammad Nurshahrin Shahrudin had won a gold medal at the Asian Pencak Silat Championship and a bronze at the 2013 SEA Games.

But in March this year, the silat community was shocked to hear that the rising star was dead. He was found by his father lying unconscious in his bedroom - close to a drawer full of medals and trophies and a wall covered in newspaper reports of his sporting exploits.

On Tuesday, State Coroner Marvin Bay found Nurshahrin's death to be a "tragic misadventure" resulting from a cocktail of eight drugs.

The chief executive officer of the Singapore Silat Federation (Persisi), Mr Sheik Alau'ddin, had earlier told The Straits Times the federation had regarded Nurshahrin as a bright prospect and wanted him to train full-time.

"We had plans to work with him, to see how he could support Persisi," said Mr Sheik. "He was so talented; he could do (artistic) singles, doubles, team as well as fight."

His cousin and national team colleague, Mr Shakir Juanda, a former world champion, said: "He was fit and a very talented silat exponent."

Calling Nurshahrin's bedroom a "shrine to his many achievements", the state coroner said his death was "a sad cautionary tale of the hazards of combining medications to achieve a narcotic effect".

A month before he died, Nurshahrin, who had signed on with the army, was arrested for shop theft. He was found with a suspicious-looking tablet and his urine sample tested positive for the sedative nitrazepam as well as morphine and codeine, both painkillers.

He was investigated by the Central Narcotics Bureau.

That month, Nurshahrin told a bunkmate in Nee Soon Camp that he started taking drugs while studying at the Institute of Technical Education, and that he had also acted as a runner to distribute them.

Another bunkmate said he would sometimes look "stoned". Meanwhile, his camp superior noted he was drowsy and slow in his speech.

A day before Nurshahrin died, two bunkmates saw him with some tablets and a bottle of medication.

He had been unusually exuberant and went around asking everyone to take pictures with him in his bunk before booking out for the weekend that Friday. Later that night, during supper, his family noticed that he was tired and listless.

On March 14, Nurshahrin's father found him unresponsive on his bed and called for an ambulance.

A forensic pathologist found his death to be from "mixed drug intoxication". There was no evidence of foul play or of Nurshahrin having suicidal thoughts, the coroner said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 29, 2015, with the headline 'Silat star's death a 'tragic misadventure''. Print Edition | Subscribe