A “LOVABLE” grandfather-of-seven died after breathing in deadly asbestos fibres on a building site decades ago, an inquest heard today.

Ron Bates, 69, of Latchingdon Gardens, Woodford Bridge worked as a builder for 30 years at sites across east London, and was regularly involved in the demolition of buildings.

In December he was taken to A & E at Whipps Cross Hospital, in Leytonstone, suffering from breathlessness.

Staff initially suspected he had a severe chest infection but a scan revealed a shadow on his lung and he was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma on January 15.

His condition deteriorated rapidly and he died in the Margaret Centre, at Whipps Cross on April 27.

Mr Bates lived with his wife Valerie, with whom he had three children.

Mrs Bates said: “Ron lived every minute of his life, he was a very likeable, loveable man.

“He loved golf, darts, bowls, fishing, every sport, he was a man's man and he loved a pint.

“He did not realise he was working with something dangerous over all these years.

It is not known the exact date or location where Mr Bates breathed in the deadly fibres as he worked on so many different sites over the years but coroner Dr Elizabeth Stearns was satisfied mesothelioma was the cause of death.

Mesothelioma is almost always caused by the breathing in of asbestos fibres, and causes malignant cells to develop in the lining of the lungs.

Symptoms typically take 30 or 40 years to develop and there is no known cure.

Dr Stearns, said malignant mesothelioma was more common than usual in East London because of its industrial past, and Mr Bates would therefore have been treated by doctors who were experienced at handling patients suffering from the disease.

Dr Stearns recorded a verdict of death by industrial disease.