Lionel Lake hit the headlines in 2015 when he was targeted by heartless burglars who took his life savings while he slept.
The thieves were never caught, but within hours of the story being published a crowd-funding page was set up and members of the community raised thousands of pounds for Lionel in a touching show of solidarity.
Since the great grandfather passed away on Wednesday (November 9) there has been a mass outpouring of grief over the “real life hero's” death.
'Good came from the bad'
Alan Palmer, who runs the Crime Awareness group for the Ruislip and Eastcote area Facebook page and who came up with the idea to fundraise for Lionel, said: “The person who burgled our hero was never caught, but good came from the bad as our community came together.
“Lionel described the coming together event as one of the best in his life.
“We all loved you Lionel.
“Please remember him over the coming days. He was and always will be our hero.”
Another mourner said: “So sad. Love and thoughts are with his friends and family at this very sad time.
“Rest in peace Lionel.”
'One in a million'
Lionel was described as “a truly amazing man”, “one in a million”, and “a true gentleman.”
In April 2015, the thieves broke into Lionel's sheltered housing flat in Howletts Lane, Ruislip, after he had gone to bed at around 9pm.
The 91-year-old woke at around 1am to find thieves had snatched £5,000 in cash he had saved over many years to pass on to his children.
Speaking at the time Lionel said: “I'd saved this for years and years as a little nest egg for my two boys and two girls to make sure I leave them something. Now it's all gone.
“I'm shocked how the blinking hell they could have done it.”
Hundreds gave money for Lionel
But just two days after the fundraising page was launched, every penny that Lionel had lost in the burglary had been raised by generous readers.
A total of £6,632 was raised by 421 people, with the excess money being donated to the Royal British Legion and Help for Heroes, as Lionel had asked.
Lionel was born in Watford and joined the Home Guard aged 15, before he joined the army's Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own) at 17.
In 1944, he took part in the D-Day Landings in Normandy as a lance corporal, where he was knocked unconscious by a mortar in Falaise.
He received four medals for his service.
Burglars were never caught
The retired printer spent seven years in Australia in the 1960s with his wife Doris and children Penny, Wesley, Julie and Gary.
Lionel's wife passed away in 2010, aged 88.
Despite forensic investigations and witness appeals by the Metropolitan Police the burglars were never caught.
Lionel called the public response to the theft “marvellous” and said he could not get over it.
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