An Ilkley man who became a successful athlete after a heart transplant has died, aged 54.

Michael Blyszko was a multiple gold medal winner in the British and European Transplant Games after undergoing the surgery in 1999.

Just two years later he won his first gold medals in the national games in Leeds, before succeeding in Klagenfurt, Dublin and Naples in the following years in European Heart and Lung Transplant Games competitions.

In five years of competing in sprint and field events, Mr Blyszko, a postal worker, won a total of 16 gold medals as well as numerous others.

Born and bred in Ilkley, Mr Blyszko died suddenly at his Ben Rhydding home on Friday, June 18.

His brother, Gino, said he hoped people would remember Mick, as he was widely known, for his determination and competitive spirit. “His perseverance was recognised by many, but medical deterioration became emphasised through time,” he said.

“However, his desire not to be life trapped because of medical and drug-related conditions did not stop his determination to keep occupied.

“Mick will be respected and never forgotten for his determination to survive where he could.”

He added that some of Mr Blyszko’s ashes will be scattered at the top of a mountain in France, part of the route for the famous Tour de France cycling race, of which Mr Blyszko was a big fan.

He is survived by his wife, Jackie, and daughters Amy and Holly.

A service and cremation will take place at Skipton Crematorium on Tuesday, June 29.