John Nuttall: Liz McColgan confirms her ex-athlete husband has died aged 56

John Nuttall during the Team GB kitting out at the NEC on July 17, 2008 in Birmingham (Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
John Nuttall during the Team GB kitting out at the NEC on July 17, 2008 in Birmingham (Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

Former Olympic runner and Commonwealth Games medallist John Nuttall, who was the husband of Liz McColgan-Nuttall, has died aged 56.

A family statement said the athlete-turned-coach died on Thursday after a heart attack and tributes have been pouring in after the news was announced on Friday.

Nuttall ran for Great Britain in the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996 over 5,000 metres and won Commonwealth bronze over the same distance in 1994.

Liz McColgan-Nuttall, the 1991 world champion over 10,000 metres, was Nuttall’s second wife after his divorce from fellow distance runner Alison Wyeth. With his first wife he two children, Luke and Hannah, who also became athletes.

"For those that loved John our hearts are breaking," McColgan wrote. “A much loved dad, son, brother and husband.”

The pair had been living in Doha for the best part of the last decade and coaching athletes at Qatar’s Aspire Academy.

Hannah Nuttall added: "I cannot believe that this day has come so soon and unexpectedly and that you are no longer with us, my heart is completely broken.”

Eilish McColgan, Liz’s daughter whose father is the former runner Peter McColgan, also paid tribute to her stepfather.

The Commonwealth 10,000 metres champion and British record holder for the 5,000 metres and 10,000 metres also paid tribute with a post on Instagram.

“It's hard to find the words right now,” she wrote. “Our family suffered a huge loss yesterday with the sudden passing of my stepfather John.

“We've spent the last six weeks here in Doha, with my mum and John, and so his passing has been a huge shock. We are still trying to process it.”

McColgan said she and her partner, the former British 800 metres runner Michael Rimmer, are looking to “bring John back home to his loved ones in Preston”.

She added: “There is such a huge outpouring of love from both Doha and everyone back home in the UK. It just reinforces how many people thought so highly of him. He will be missed by us all.”