The BBC has reported that Scottish cyclist Steven Harper (38) died in Italy in November, although his brother, Dale, who had travelled to the area to search for him, was not informed until late December.

Steven is believed to have fallen from a cliff near Ventimiglia in November, while attempting to pedal from Dundee to India. His brother, Dale, said he feared that the dad-of-two had eaten a potentially lethal mushroom after being robbed of his bike and possessions in Nice. A Foreign Office spokesperson said officials were assisting his family.

In statement on social media, he said he was concerned that his brother had made a “fatal mistake” by eating dangerous mushrooms, but said it was unclear what kind of fungi he had eaten. Dale said: “His death was attributed to a fall from a cliff, possibly due to disorientation caused by mushroom toxins. “I take comfort in knowing he was doing what he wanted to do, wasn’t wanting for anything, was surrounded by people in his last moments in a place he always said he had wanted to die.”

Steven had travelled through Andorra, Spain and France and was understood to be following a Mediterranean route through Europe, the BBC said.

Dale said he had received messages of condolence from “all over the world” and the family had been left “devastated” by the news. He added: “I am proud of him but I am just so broken knowing he’s not there any more. “Anyone that has met Steven or spent time with him will know his free-spirited attitude of ‘You can do what you set your mind to’.”

Dale, 40, flew out to the south of France after the family received texts from Steven saying he felt “unwell” having eaten the fungi while foraging near Roquebrune-Cap-Martin.

Dale said Italian authorities told him that Steven was seen falling on November 23, hours after the messages were sent. Workers on a building site came to his aid and a helicopter carried him from the cliffside overlooking Ventimiglia’s harbour. He was pronounced dead a short time later and his body kept in a morgue in Sanremo.


PHOTO: Steven Harper