TRIBUTES have been paid to a father-of-three who died after suffering a suspected heart attack while driving home.
Police believe that brave Nicholas Hodgson, 43, managed to avert a potential accident by pulling his car over to the side of the road just before dying at the wheel.
Mr Hodgson, who lived with his family in Cambridge Street, Great Harwood, had been to a car boot sale in Mellor.
Police and paramedics were called to the scene on busy Ramsgreave Road, near Wilpshire, just before 1pm on Saturday, but he was pronounced dead on arrival at Blackburn Royal Infirmary.
Mr Hodgson's wife, Maria, was visiting friends in Spain at the time and she flew home on Sunday. She said that the family were devastated by the news.
She said: "It came as such a shock to everybody as Nicholas had never been ill before. He didn't like to go out drinking or anything. He just liked staying at home."
"We've been told that he pulled the car over when he had the heart attack so he must have known what was happening. If he hadn't done it, other people could have been injured. But he was always a very safety-conscious driver."
Mrs Hodgson, a senior rehabilitation support worker, described her husband as a quiet family man whose hobbies were car boot sales, computers and mobile phones.
She said: "He was very easy-going and always trying to help people. He had a heart of gold and will be sadly missed by so many people."
Mr Hodgson, who was born in Blackpool, used to work as a builder with his late father, Jack, before working as a porter at Queen's Park Hospital in Blackburn for several years.
He also leaves his three children, Michael, 18, a soldier based in Cyprus, Paul, 17, and Leanna, 15, brothers Mark, John, Howard and Simon, sisters Vicky and Tilly, mum Barbara and step-dad Harry.
A funeral service will be held on Monday morning at St Wulstan's Church in Great Harwood, followed by burial at Great Harwood Cemetery.
A spokesman for Lancashire Police said there were no suspicious circumstances and the coroner had been informed.