Tributes have been paid to British sprinter Mike McFarlane ©Getty Images

Tributes have been paid in athletics to Britain's Olympic silver medallist and Commonwealth champion Mike McFarlane, who has died at the age of 63.

McFarlane, part of the men's 4x100 metres relay team which finished second at the Seoul 1988 Olympics, had suffered a heart attack.

Mac, as he was known, was hugely popular on the track and went on to become an acclaimed coach.

His most famous race was probably the 200m final at the Brisbane 1982 Commonwealth Games, where, racing for England, he shared the gold medal with Scotland's Allan Wells.

Both men clocked 20.43sec and the photo finish was unable to separate them, meaning both were awarded gold.

McFarlane won the European indoor title over 60m in Athens in 1985, as well as outdoor bronze in the 4x100m relay at the 1986 European Championships in Stuttgart.

Mike McFarlane, left, and Allan Wells after the pair shared gold at the Brisbane 1982 Commonwealth Games ©Getty Images
Mike McFarlane, left, and Allan Wells after the pair shared gold at the Brisbane 1982 Commonwealth Games ©Getty Images

He completed a full set of Commonwealth Games medals as he won relay silver and 100m bronze at Edinburgh 1986.

In Seoul, he joined forces with Elliot Bunney, John Regis and Linford Christie to win Olympic silver behind the Soviet Union.

Known as an excellent bend runner, McFarlane took the third leg in the South Korean capital.

His 100m personal best was 10.22sec, while his best in the 200m was the 20.43 he ran to share gold in Brisbane.

"Everyone at UK Athletics is saddened to hear of the passing of Mike McFarlane, the Olympic silver medallist and highly respected coach," said the national governing body. 

"All our thoughts go to his family and friends at this time."

Katherine Merry, an Olympic bronze medallist over 400m, added: "A wonderful coach and a super athlete. 

"How sad, no age at 63. 

"Always a smiling face. 

"He will be missed."

Mike McFarlane running for his club Haringey ©Getty Images
Mike McFarlane running for his club Haringey ©Getty Images

Athletics Weekly said McFarlane's "brilliance" acted as a "catalyst for the revival of British sprinting in the 1980s".

He ran for Haringey Athletics Club and, as a coach, was appointed to work as an assistant with the British women's relay squad before London 2012.

This saw him return to a UK Athletics role three years after being sacked as part of a shake-up ordered by then head coach Charles van Commenee.

McFarlane coached sprinters including Tony Jarrett, John Regis, Julian Golding, Dwain Chambers, Desiree Henry and Jodie Williams. 

"Coaches like Mac played such an important role in the lives of so many of the boys I grew up in the game with," said Jeanette Kwayke, a world indoor silver medallist in the 60m.

Derek Redmond, a world relay champion, added: "As a young athlete coming up through the ranks I remember getting plenty of advice from him. 

"He had such a big heart and was part of the big sprint movement this country had in the 80s and 90s.

"We were blessed with some serious world-class sprinters and Mac was a massive part of that. 

"Even after retiring from competing, he went on to coach and develop some other top UK sprint talent."