Friends and family of a transsexual who was found dead on Tuesday have paid tribute to a “determined,” “brave” and “generous” woman.

Jacqueline (Jacqui) Cowdrey was found dead in her Heron Court, Victoria Road, Worthing flat shortly before 6pm. A murder investigation was launched and two men, aged 34 and 63, were arrested and bailed.

Paying tribute to the 50- year-old, family members told how she was a huge science fiction and in particular Star Trek fan.

A family spokeswoman said: “It is so difficult to sum up Jacqui in a few words.

Jacqui was a complex character who was determined to live life her way. This was a strength but also made her vulnerable.”

As well as suffering from depression and epilepsy, she also struggled to control her alcoholism – something she is said to have made great strides to overcome in recent years.”

Jacqui, who was previously known as Simon, underwent a sex change in the latter years of her life.

The family added: “She experienced much prejudice due to some of her life choices.

“Despite these difficulties, Jacqui battled to maintain her independence and never wanted anyone to feel sorry for her. She cared deeply for people close to her and she had a generous heart. She was determined to do what she could to support her mum, assisting her in a wide range of ways.”

Although unable to work due to her health issues, she had a number of interests including big cats, gaming, Scottish band music and Star Trek.

The family added: “Jacqui’s presence was undeniable and she will be missed greatly by her family and friends who loved her.

“Jacqui, go boldly to a nonjudgemental, pain free and peaceful place.”

Her cousin Clive, from Hastings, added: “R.I.P Jacqueline.

You taught me a lot about standing up for being who you truly are. I hope you find the peace in the next world that you truly deserve.”

Pal Mick Symes described her as a friendly person, passionate about science fiction.

He said: “She was always on the lookout in local charity and secondhand shops for any collectable items or bargains.

“Many of us in the area knewher before treatment and surgery so we just had to deal with a name change. This wasn’t a problem as to us the physical change was irrelevant, she was still the same person.

“She will be missed.”

A post-mortemproved inconclusive and further tests are to be carried out to confirm the cause of death. Detective Inspector Gordon Denslow said: “We are still trying to confirm exactly what happened in the hours before her death.

“We believe she was in an argument with a man in Bedford Row, close to the Vintner’s Parrot pub in Warwick Street.

“Did you see or hear that argument taking place, some time between 4pm and 7pm on November 18?”

Anyone with information should contact police on 101 quoting Operation Seal or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.