The body of Jonathan Driver, the Mayor of Croydon, former Mayor of Lambeth and a teacher at a Wandsworth school, has been found in his home after he died suddenly on New Year's Eve.

Worried relatives of the Mayor, who had been complaining of feeling unwell, called police who broke down the door of his home in Bramley Hill and found him dead.

Members of Croydon Council received an email late last night letting them know that the 40-year-old history teacher passed away.

Conservative Councillor Driver had cancelled official engagements shortly before his death after feeling under the weather.

It is understood he was suffering from the flu and was also diabetic which could have lead to serious complications.

Derek Withers of the Croydon Lions Club, revealed how he found out about Coun Driver's diabetes when the mayor visited a charity event of theirs in May.

“I first discovered Jonathan's condition at one of our charity events. His driver came in before the mayor and told us he needed to get him some food. We found at later that day it was because of his diabetes.

“We also heard recently that he had missed a number of appointments because he was taken ill with flu.

"It is such a great loss for us and Croydon, he was a kind and generous man."

Libby Dowling, Care Advisor at Diabetes UK, said: “Having flu can seriously effect diabetes control and cause blood glucose levels to fluctuate. This can leave people with diabetes open to many health problems including complications of flu such as pneumonia and bronchitis.

"People with diabetes qualify for a free flu jab and should visit their GPs to make sure that they have the proper protection against the flu virus."

He died on the afternoon of New Year's Eve, police said yesterday.

A police spokesman said: "We were called by relatives who were concerned for the welfare of a Croydon man.

"A short time later, officers attended an address in Bramley Hill, South Croydon and, having failed to get a response from the occupant, they forced entry.

"The body of a man - believed aged in his 40s - was found inside the premises. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

"A post-mortem will be held in due course."

As well as representing the borough at hundreds of civic, ceremonial and social occasions, he promoted Croydon as London's third city.

Councillor Driver was first elected to the council in 2006, representing his home area of Waddon, where he lived for the past seven years. He was a teacher at Emanuel School in Wandsworth.

At 40 he was Croydon's youngest Mayor, but this accolade was not a first for Councillor Driver who became Mayor of next-door Lambeth a decade ago, aged just 30.

Conservative member for Selsdon and Ballards Ward, Councillor Sara Bashford said: “It is absolutely shocking to hear that Jonathan Driver has died. When I saw the news this morning I was so surprised as he was so young.

"He looked unwell at the Christmas carol service.

"It’s just awful, he was such a lovely man.”

The Deputy Mayor, Councillor Robert Askey, will fulfil the duties of the Mayor’s office for the time being, pending further decisions.