A BRAVE car fanatic who was given a vital bone marrow transplant has lost his battle with leukaemia at the age of 20.
Mark McMurray was first diagnosed with the illness in November 2003 and doctors spent weeks looking for a suitable donor.
His brother David, 28, finally volunteered after being named as a perfect match.
This week Mark's family said the operation gave him two good years of life in which he was able to enjoy himself and indulge in his passion for cars and trucks
He became ill again early last year when the donated cells started to attack his immune system and Mark, of Brookside View, Oswaldtwistle, was in and out of hospital after contracting a range of illnesses including pneumonia and septicaemia.
He was admitted to Christie's Hospital, Manchester, four weeks ago and died last Tuesday.
His family this week paid tribute to him, describing him as a fun-loving young man who always had a smile on his face and refused to give in during his fight against the illness.
David said: "He was brilliant. He was always really bright and bubbly and everyone loved him. He never let things get him down and he was a real practical joker."
When Mark was first diagnosed with his illness he was working as an apprentice mechanic at JDS Trucks in Blackburn but had to give it up while receiving treatment.
After the operation he went to work for the family haulage firm, McMurrays, where he was employed as a driver and later became a director.
David said: "He loved cars and trucks and right from being young he could tell you the model of a truck just by looking at it. He even learned to read as a child by looking at Autotrader.
"In the weeks before he died he was looking forward to buying a BMW. He knew a lot about cars. They were his real passion.
"All the time he was ill he just wanted to get back to working for the family firm. He also liked his music and really enjoyed listening to dance and Ian Ashcroft."
As well as David, Mark, a former pupil of Rhyddings High School, leaves his mum Marian, sister Nicola, 29, brother-in-law Michael, nephew Patrick, niece Megan and girlfriend Beth.
More than 300 friends and family attended the funeral on Wednesday when a wreath-decked McMurray's truck took part in the procession.
Songs played during the service, which was held at Immanuel Church, Oswaldtwistle, included Mr Brightside by The Killers.
Mark was buried in the churchyard.
- ROVERS fan Mark's plight united the close-knit Stanhill community.
Seven of his pals raised £500 for Christie's by having their heads shaved so he wouldn't feel uncomfortable when he went for chemotherapy and on Boxing Day 2003 nearly £2,000 was raised by an auction at the Stanhill pub.