Heaton-Ellis rode as an amateur rider over jumps between 1977 and 1981, when he partnered 11 winners. In 1982, he broke his back in a riding accident and had been confined to a wheelchair ever since.
Clive Cox, his assistant for the last six and a half years, said: "He was the most amazing man. He never mentioned his problems.
``Motor neuron disease was diagnosed 18 months ago and not once did it ever get him down. He was a great example to us all," said Cox, who added that the death occurred on Sunday.
Heaton-Ellis, who first took out a training licence in 1991, enjoyed considerable success with horses like Speedy Classic and Lord High Admiral.
Heaton-Ellis was assistant to Richard Hannon from 1990 to 1991. At Windsor races yesterday, Hannon said: "Mikey was a very brave man." Fellow trainer David Elsworth added: "Mikey was such a brave chap and never saw fear in anything."Reuse content