TRIBUTES have been pouring in for a doctor who discovered the outbreak of a deadly disease two decades ago.

Dr William Mitchell was working at Furness General Hospital when he linked patients' severe symptoms to the rare and deadly disease in August 2002.

Two decades on his daughter has shared the story of how he made it his mission to find what was causing patients to be admitted to hospital.

Caroline Biggins described seeing her dad come home 'determined' to find the cause before returning to work in the evening.

Rheumatoid specialist Dr Mitchell worked at FGH for 30 years until his death aged 69 last year.

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And now, tributes have been pouring in from former patients.

Norma A Powell said: "Greatly missed. A very caring doctor who is very much missed by all staff and patients."

Janet Greig said: "Lovely, lovely man. So warm and caring, and made visiting the hospital for appointments much less of an ordeal. Sadly missed by our community."

Lorna Lancaster said: "Lovely man, lovely doctor - his family should be so proud.

"He was my specialist for about 26 years, RIP."

Gill Kelly said: "I was just looking at his photo in his office the other week which still remains in place, greatly missed at Furness General."

Elaine Hendrie said: "Mr Mitchell was one of the loveliest doctors I have ever met. He always took time to listen to you and he cared. Of course, being a fellow Scot was an added bonus."

"One of life’s true gentlemen."

While Dr Mitchell's daughter, Caroline Biggins, thanked everyone for their support.

She said: "Thank you for your kind words. He truly was someone special. We adored him and miss him terribly."