A professor described as an “intellectual giant” killed himself before his debilitating brain disease took control, an inquest has heard.

Professor Philip Adey, from Point Pleasant, in Putney, was an emeritus professor of science, cognition and education at King’s College London.

The 73-year-old was responsible for developing a radical approach to teaching, called cognitive acceleration, designed to improve students’ thinking ability.

Prof Adey’s work on the subject was highly influential and was used in primary school across the country.

But in 2010, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Plus, a syndrome similar to Parkinson’s, but with additional debilitating features, and told his condition could leave him bed-bound.

Describing his father in an obituary, Gideon Adey wrote: “Philip was tireless and intellectually rigorous, and engaged all on equal terms.

“His warmth and wit could light up a room. He was an excellent speaker and thousands of teachers have been inspired during his professional development sessions.”

Professor Judy Sebba, from Sussex University, said: “Philip made a fantastic contribution to education and always wanted what was best for children’s learning. He will be very sorely missed.”

After he left university his work took him around the world from the West Indies, Indonesia, Brunei, China, Hong Kong, Hungary and Poland.

Prof Adey then went on to be a researcher, lecturer, senior lecturer, reader and professor at King’s College London.

He became the education commissioner for Westminster City Council and contributed to the writing of the September 2009 Westminster Education Commission Report.

Prof Adey is survived by his second wife, Jadwiga, his two sons, Lewis and Gideon and his grandchildren, Ayesha, Kamilah, Saffron and Leo.

At Westminster Coroner’s Court on April 4 coroner Darren Stewart gave a verdict of suicide.