TRIBUTES have been paid to a Welsh jockey and former champion apprentice who has died aged 59.

Bryn Crossley, who was born in Prestatyn, competed in Flat racing.

He was living near Alicante in Spain, where he had been living for around 15 years.

The Racing Post have reported that Vince Smith, a close friend and former weighing-room colleague, said that Bryn died on Sunday (January 7).

"He had a seizure and had been in a coma for a week," said Mr Smith.

"He seemed pretty good after that and I spoke to him a couple of weeks before Christmas and he seemed sharp, but then he had another seizure and he didn't make it through.

"We were all best buddies in the 1990s. Bryn was a hell of a jockey and such a great fellow to be around, so funny – he could light up a room. We had some hilarious times together."

Bryn was born on August 3, 1958, in Prestatyn. He joined Robert Armstrong in Newmarket and rode his first winner on Balvima at Yarmouth in 1979.

He switched to Geoff Huffer’s yard and became champion apprentice in 1981 with 45 winners, and became a full jockey the next season, winning a further 29.

Bryn, who is survived by ex-wife Jennie and his brother Glyn and Jim, won the following season’s Lincoln at Doncaster on Kings Glory for Philip Mitchell.

Derek Thompson, presenter and commentator of horse racing on Radio Five Live and At the Races, posted on Twitter: "Sad to hear of the death at just 59 of former champion apprentice Bryn Crossley. He was a perky character and terrific horseman."