Ginia Rinehart's personal bodyguard sent her a text message apologising for his behaviour just 90 minutes before he was found hanging in London's glamorous Dorchester Hotel.
By the time the heiress woke and read the message, 35-year-old Jeremiah Rouwhorst, a decorated former Special Air Service Regiment trooper, was showing no signs of life.
On receiving the text message - in which he resigned, claiming he had disgraced himself by being drunk when he had picked her up from Chelsea that day - the heiress was frantic. She rushed to his hotel room to find his naked body blocking the door.
At the inquest into his death in Westminster Coroner's Court last night, Coroner Shirley Radcliffe recorded an open finding, saying she could not be sure Mr Rouwhorst had intended to kill himself.
"It is, of course, possible he sent the text message to Ms Rinehart as a cry for help," she said. "This may have been suicide, we can't be sure. It may have been an accident, we can't be sure."
The coroner heard Ms Rinehart and Mr Rouwhorst had been staying at the Dorchester in Mayfair and were due to fly home to Australia on March 17.
The night before, the pair had a drink and Mr Rouwhorst, who the coroner heard rarely drank alcohol, became intoxicated.
He was still drunk about 8am the next day when he drove to Chelsea to pick up Ms Rinehart, who had been with friends. When they got back to the Dorchester, Ms Rinehart, 27, went to bed. Mr Rouwhorst went to his room.
"At 10.27am he sent her a text message saying he felt he had disgraced her, let her down, embarrassed her in front of her friends and was tendering his resignation (for turning up to work drunk)," Dr Radcliffe said.
Ms Rinehart discovered the message about noon. Dorchester security officer Justin Fuller said the heiress was "hysterical".
Mr Fuller said Ms Rinehart and Mr Rouwhorst had spent the evening celebrating with friends but had returned to the hotel in the early hours of Sunday, March 16 this year.
"There was a farewell party the night before they were fliyng out. They were out to the late hours and there was drinking involved", he told the court.
"After a call ... when I got to the room, I found a hysterical female pointing to the connecting door ... I found the door blocked by a body of a man", he said.
Acccording to Police Constable Aaron King, who attended the scene in the following minutes, Ms Rinehart was distraught, crying and at one point she fainted.
Mr Rouwhorst was taken to nearby St Mary's Hospital but pronounced dead two days later.
Dr Radcliffe said there was no note and nothing in the text message that suggested he was considering taking his own life.
"This may have been an impulsive gesture under the influence of alcohol," she said.
During the inquest it was revealed that Australia's richest woman, Gina Rinehart, told police: "He was a very professional man. It was out of character that he would drink that much."
If you or someone you know is thinking of suicide, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14