Former jockey Richard Fox has died aged 57 after spending almost two months on a life-support machine.
The Irishman was admitted to West Suffolk Hospital on 30 April after hitting his head in a fall while shopping in his home town of Newmarket.
Racing broadcaster and friend Derek Thompson told BBC Radio Cambridgeshire: "He was a great jockey and a great guy to be with.
"Whenever you were with him you would laugh so much it would hurt."
The lightweight, who was renowned for his sense of humour and was known as 'Foxy' to his friends, can count the Lincoln, Cesarewitch, Northumberland Plate, Ascot Stakes and Bunbury Cup among his handicap victories in a successful career.
Fox had been a beneficiary of the Injured Jockeys' Fund since suffering an aneurysm while on the Newmarket gallops in 1999 and was a regular on the sport's after-dinner speaking circuit.
After his retirement, Fox also served as a body double for actor Rupert Grint in a Harry Potter film.
Following his fall in April he had to be revived by doctors after his heart stopped beating for 15 minutes, but he never fully regained consciousness.
"He was the original character," added Thompson.
"Over the years there have been some characters in sport, he was the original character jockey.
"He would go in and pull anybody's leg, if anybody got beat by half a length in the derby or something and would be feeling terrible he'd go cheer them up - in a wicked sort of way.
"He's a man I liked and a man I'll miss and I think he's a big loss in racing, he was a good guy."
He is survived by his wife Maria and two children, Francesca and Dominic, who is also a former jockey and works with Newmarket trainer Alan Bailey.
Arrangements for the funeral have yet to be finalised.