The construction industry has been paying tribute to Patsy Byrne, who has died aged 64.
The Byrne Group chief executive founded the concrete specialist with his brother Johnny in 1969.
Group managing director Tony Dowle said: “All the members of staff send their deepest heartfelt condolences to every one of the Byrne family at this most difficult time.
“Patsy was an immense character who touched the hearts and minds of everyone he came into contact with.
“He built the Byrne Group of companies into one of the most robust and respected businesses in its specialist fields in UK construction. He will be very sadly missed.
“Continuity measures have been put in place to ensure the continued and successful operation of the Byrne Group businesses.”
The Byrne Group has been involved in the construction of some of the UK’s most well-known buildings, from the Olympic and Emirates stadiums, to the Shard and the new Centre and Number One courts at Wimbledon.
The directors said they would be contacting clients personally after the announcement.
Mr Byrne was also a champion of industry charities including the Construction Youth Trust and The Lighthouse Club.
Sellar Property chairman Irvine Sellar said: “All of the team at Sellar are shocked and saddened at the sudden death of one of the construction industry’s great businessmen and characters.
“I’m sure Patsy’s values of trust and integrity, and his passion for perfection, will live on in his company. His passing is a great loss to the industry, and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”
Director of The London Irish Construction Network Daniel Fealy said: “Patsy was a legend in London and I’ve never heard a bad word said about him.
“He was one of the first Irish businessmen to come across to London and he started from nothing with his brother Johnny and built a big business. For anybody coming over from Ireland, he helped us all find work. He was a good man.”
Great Portland Estates head of projects James Pellatt tweeted: “Very saddened to hear that Patsy Byrne of Byrne Brothers passed away suddenly yesterday. He was one of the industry greats [and] will be missed.”
The Irishman was well know throughout the greyhound and horseracing circuit and tributes have flooded in from sporting leaders.
Champion jockey AP McCoy tweeted: “Sad news about Patsy Byrne, a great man and friend, big loss [to] the racing and greyhound world, thoughts with his wife Bridget and family.”
Barry Geraghty tweeted: “Shocked to hear of Patsy Byrne’s sudden passing, a true gentleman, great character and fanatical sportsman. Thoughts are with his family. RIP.”
Mr Byrne was also a founding member of the Drumaville Consortium, which bought Sunderland Football Club in 2006.
Sunderland AFC chief executive Margaret Byrne said: “Everyone at the club was very upset to hear the news of Patsy’s death this morning.
“He was a true gentleman – genuinely kind, with a generous spirit and all of those who knew him will remember his quick wit and mischievous sense of humour.
“He always had a good word to say about everyone and remained a great support to me personally and to the football club. He will be greatly missed by so many people.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Bridget and the Byrne family at this time.”