A GRIEF-stricken mother has paid tribute to her “beautiful, loving boy” after her 16-year-old son’s sudden death.

Danny Nicholls, 16, was found unconscious by his sister at their home off Preston Road, Chorley at 2pm on Monday.

Family members said the teenager, a computer student at Runshaw College, had not been suffering from ill health before he died.

His mother, Lorraine Nicholls, is a well known figure at Blackburn Rovers FC, working for several years as a player liason and tunnel steward during first team games at Ewood Park.

She said: “Our family has lost our little man. Danny was such a loving son and brother and losing him leaves a massive hole in our family.

“He was, quiet, thoughtful, full of love and had a cheeky sense of humour. In the past two days we’ve been overwhelmed with the messages of support from his hundreds of friends.

“Without exception they have told me he will be remembered with affection, warmth and respect. Those sentiments have given me, his father and sisters strength and pride at this terrible time.”

He also leaves father Eric and sisters Leanne, 29 and Louise, 32.

Danny’s hobbies included computer games, and tributes have been posted from the online X-Box gaming community from around the country and Ireland.

The former Southlands High School was also a Blackburn Rovers supporter, his favourite player being Morten Gamst Pedersen.

He was mascot for the team aged nine and was thrilled when Robbie Savage once presented him with his match shirt after a game.

Danny’s sister, Louise also paid tribute. She said: “Danny was the baby of the family, a bit of a homebird — the quiet one, while me and Leanne were the chatterboxes. We’ll miss our beautiful brother so much.

“He was a truly lovely lad. None of us can believe he’s gone.”

An inquest into the death has been opened by Preston Coroners’ Court and adjourned until a later date.