THE world of racing reacted with shock at the sudden death of well-known horse owner Patsy Byrne (below).
Mr Byrne, who was 64, was the owner of the winner of the Guinness Kerry National at Listowel Races just two weeks ago.
Mr Byrne was also well known in greyhound racing circles as an owner and trainer. Among his greatest successes were Irish Derby winner Cool Performance and Ballinderry Ash that won the English Derby.
A native of Duagh in north Co Kerry, Mr Byrne divided his time between there and Surrey in the UK where he ran a successful construction business, Byrne Group Plc.
The company was involved in the construction of some of the UK's most prestigious landmarks including London's Canary Wharf.
Mr Byrne died in Co Kerry yesterday morning. He hadn't planned on being in Ireland, but had travelled over for a family gathering.
His close friend and general manager of Punchestown Racecourse, Dick O'Sullivan, said his death was an awful loss.
"He was the most amazing man, a big man in every sense of the word but if he had any link with you at all, he was there at every turn when you needed him," Mr O'Sullivan said.
He had only recently achieved success at Listowel Races where his horse White Star Line, trained by Dessie Hughes, won the Kerry National earlier this month.
Mr O'Sullivan was watching the race with him at Listowel and says both were "struck dumb" when the horse won.
"He just turned to me and said, 'What do you think of that?' and he hadn't a farthing on him," his friend recalled.
Chief executive of Horse Racing Ireland Brian Kavanagh said it was a terrible shock.
"He made a huge contribution to racing in Ireland and Britain as an owner, sponsor and breeder," Mr Kavanagh said.
Tributes have also been paid to Mr Byrne on Twitter.
Trainer Jonjo O' Neill tweeted: "We have been hit with some really sad news today that our great friend Patsy Byrne has died suddenly."
Mr Byrne is survived by his wife Bridget, sons Michael and Sean, daughter Siobhan and his grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements have yet to be finalised but it is understood Mr Byrne will be laid to rest in his native Kerry.