The wife of former footballer Colin Hendry died in hospital after a bug in her body spread to her brain causing meningitis, an inquest heard today.
Denise Hendry, 43, whose husband was nicknamed "Braveheart" as captain of Scotland, endured an agonising seven-year battle with illness after disastrous liposuction surgery in April 2002, Bolton Coroner's Court heard.
The mother-of-four suffered punctures to her bowel nine times during the "routine" surgery performed by foreign doctor Gustaf Aniansson, at the private Broughton Park Hospital near Preston, Lancashire.
It left Mrs Hendry with terrible injuries to her stomach area, beginning a "chain of events" which led to a series of operations to correct the damage.
She died in July 2009 following "high risk" surgery at the Salford Royal Hospital, the inquest into her death, now in its second day, has heard.
Today Dr Chinari Subudhi, a microbiologist at the hospital, said he took samples from Mrs Hendry while she was in intensive care after the last 16-hour operation, on April 22, 2009.
Dr Subudhi said in his opinion a bacteria, Klebsiella, which can occurs naturally in the gut, had spread from her stomach to her lungs and then to her brain.
He said the spread of the bug in the blood stream is common in critically ill patients who are on a ventilator, as was Mrs Hendry.
Doctors realised something was wrong on May 5 when there was a "sudden" neurological deterioration due to "Klebsiella Meningitis" rather than the more common "staph" strains of the brain infection.
Earlier in the hearing Mr Hendry, who had a distinguished club career as a defender with Rangers, Dundee and Blackburn Rovers, described his wife's courage during her long battle against illness, describing her as "beautiful inside and out."
"To look at Denise, even when ill, she was beautiful," he said.
"She did not let anybody really realise what was going on."
The inquest heard NHS doctors were "disgusted" when Mrs Hendry was transferred to them critically ill from her injuries suffered in the private hospital.
One doctor tried to report Dr Aniansson to the General Medical Council to get him struck off, but he was "a step in front", Mr Hendry said, and voluntarily removed himself from the British medical register in 2003 before action could be taken.
Dr Aniansson, who is believed to be still practising in his native Sweden, has been notified of the hearing but has chosen not to attend.
Instead he sent a short written statement claiming the operation he carried out on Mrs Hendry "proceeded uneventfully".
The hearing is expected to conclude later today.