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Richard Fox

Richard Fox enjoyed a successful career as a lightweight jockey

  PICTURE: Sporting Life  

Popular former jockey Richard Fox dies at 57

FORMER jockey Richard Fox died at the West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds at 1am on Tuesday, aged 57.

Fox never fully regained consciousness since collapsing while shopping in Newmarket on April 30 when he had to be revived by doctors after his heart stopped beating for 15 minutes.

Broadcaster Derek Thompson, a close friend of Fox, said: "Foxy was the liveliest person I have ever met, he came up with all these jokes I couldn't stop laughing at, and he has been a very good friend for many years.

"It's amazing that since he was taken ill people from all walks of life have asked me how is and to pass on their good wishes. He was a very popular person, both inside and outside the sport."

The jockey, one of modern racing's best liked characters, suffered an aneurysm that came close to claiming his life while riding out on the Newmarket gallops in 1999.

Despite undergoingan eight-and-a-half hour operation, he lost none of his impish sense of humour, saying afterwards: "It took them eight hours to find my brain and half an hour to tidy it up. I am now a walking time-bomb - an Irishman with a brain."

Fox started out as an apprentice with Frenchie Nicholson and rode his first winner in 1972 and enjoyed a successful career as a lightweight and won many of the top handicaps, including the Lincoln, Cesarewitch and Northumberland Plate.

Since retiring, he had appeared as the double for actor Rupert Grint in the Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets film.

Fox is survived by his wife Marie and two children. His daughter Francesca, who lives in America, while his son Dominic is a former jockey who now works for trainer Alan Bailey in Newmarket.

Arrangements for the funeral have still to be finalised.

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