A father dropped dead on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro just minutes after texting his wife telling her he was 'exhausted but so happy' to reach the top.
It had been a lifetime dream of Alistair Cook's to tackle the summit of Africa's highest peak ahead of his 70th birthday, which he would have celebrated on Monday.
But just minutes after reaching the summit, he suffered a heart attack and died.
ust before his death Mr Cook sent his wife of three years, Vicky, a text message expressing his delight at his achievement.
It said: 'Reached the summit at 09.50am, feel exhausted but so happy.'
Speaking from the home the couple shared in Leicestershire, Mrs Cook said: 'When he got to the top he said he was exhausted but happy, he was ecstatic at reaching it.
'He said it had been hard work but he was enjoying it and he was in good shape.'
'He had lots of energy and enthusiasm -a passion for life.'
Father-of-three Mr Cook had trained for about 18 months for the climb, and walked near his home every morning.
He also scaled Mount Snowdon, in Wales, in preparation for the challenge.
Mrs Cook said: 'He was focused on making sure he knew what he had to do for the climb.'
Her husband undertook the trek with four other climbers as part of a trip organised by Team Kilimanjaro, a company which specialises in climbing holidays on the mountain.
The tragedy happened only two hours into the group's descent on September 11.
Mr Cook had lived in Leicestershire for more than 40 years and originally worked as an engineer.
In 1977 he founded framing company Framers Corner, in Bardon, near Coalville, of which he was managing director.
His three children, Richard, 41, Alex, 38, and Samantha, 36, all work at Framers Corner.
Richard, who is general manager, said his father was a man who 'never stopped'.
He said: 'He was always active both inside and outside of work, the climb was something he had always wanted to do.'
Mr Cook was involved with the Rotary Club of Loughborough and had previously served as its president.