British artist David Hockney is "incredibly upset" and "in a state of shock" following the sudden death of his assistant on Sunday (17Mar13).

Hockney's 23-year-old aide Dominic Elliott was taken to Scarborough General Hospital after falling ill at Hockney's home in East Yorkshire, England on Sunday morning. Medics were unable to save Elliott and he was pronounced dead, prompting a police investigation into the cause of the tragedy.

Hockney has now spoken out about the incident through his publicist, Erica Bolton, who revealed the 75-year-old 'pop art' star feels devastated by the loss.

She says, "He is incredibly upset about it. He (Elliott) has worked for him for quite a long time... He is a studio assistant - he is a very important person to David. He has worked for him over two years... Like everyone else, he (Hockney) is in a state of shock. This is obviously a very sad day."

A statement from Humberside Police reads, "The circumstances of the man's death are not clear and officers are currently undertaking enquiries to establish events leading to his death. There were no signs of violence."

A post-mortem examination on Elliott's body is due to take place on Tuesday (19Mar13).