A former Royal Marine died in a tragic motor cycle accident – after colliding with an ELK.
Timothy Parker died when his Harley Davidson ploughed into the animal on the interstate highway in Colorado, USA, on Saturday – his 49th birthday.
He moved to America from Bristol with his family around 20 years ago after a stint with the 40 Commando Royal Marines, serving in Northern Ireland, Belize and Cyprus.
The businessman was riding towards his home in the ski resort of Vail after attending a motorcycle rally.
State troopers said Mr Parker – who was wearing eye protection but not a helmet – smashed into the animal, then the guardrail, before he was thrown from his motorcycle.
It is believed he broke his neck and died at the scene.
His second cousin Terry Olpin, a Bristol businessman, said Marines from around the world were flying out to comfort his widow Maggie.
“She has recieved so many phone calls from around the world,” he said.
“The Marines are a family, a real band of brother and some are flying out there to comfort her.
“He lived in Henleaze and he used to run around the Downs with a haversack filled with bricks – that’s how he got tough enough to join the Royal Marines.”
After moving to the US, Mr Parker set up a plumbing business and employed around 30 people.
He was well known for raising money for charity and last year his business made a $33,217 (#21,776) donation to an affordable housing project in Vail, Colorado.