Britain's longest surviving heart transplant patient has died at the age of 78 — almost 30 years after his life-saving operation.

Joe Burnside leaves three children, 13 grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

Burnside suffered a devastating heart attack in 1980, when his youngest child was just 13 and heart transplants were almost unheard of.

Despite needing to be tricked by his wife into becoming a medical pioneer, the businessman was one of the U.K.'s first patients to undergo the surgery.

His wife Mary said her husband was very aware that he was lucky to be given the opportunity to witness the events of the 1980s and 90s.

"It was a second chance, wasn't it? It opened so many doors, it really enriched our lives," she said.

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