A couple found dead in bed are feared to have inhaled toxic carbon monoxide fumes from a generator used during a power cut.
Ken and Dorothy Swallow, 70 and 71, are understood to have been discovered dead in bed at home in Malthouse Lane, Hurstpierpoint, by their daughter, named locally as Daryl Swallow.
Mr Swallow’s niece, Natalie Swallow, paid tribute to the couple and described her uncle as “a good friend and a brilliant listener”.
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She said: “Ken was someone who always put others before himself. You could say he was Mr Dependable.
“He was an all round top chap. A total one off who was high on life.
“To lose both Ken and Dorothy is so, so sad. They will both be greatly missed but not forgotten.”
A close friend of the Swallows, John Buck, of Nightingale Lane, Burgess Hill, described the couple’s death as “a real tragedy”, describing him as a “larger than life, charismatic person”.
He told how Mr Swallow, known as “Swolls”, used to play for Burgess Hill Football Club in the 1970s and went on to manage the team and the Haywards Heath equivalent.
Mr Buck added: “I used to see him and Dorothy walking around Burgess Hill trying to find one another. Both were on their mobiles and both had lost each other.”
He told how Burgess Hill Football Club planned to hold a minute’s silence for the couple.
It is understand Miss Swallow has a brother, Nigel Swallow, who used to run a photography shop in Brighton.
Neither he or Miss Swallow were available for comment yesterday.
A Sussex Police statement said: “Shortly after midday on Boxing Day relatives found an elderly couple dead in their home.
“There are no suspicious circumstances and it is thought the man and woman may have succumbed to fumes from a generator left running overnight following a power cut.
“An investigation into their deaths continues. Post-mortem examinations have been carried out."
An inquest was opened and adjourned on January 3.