NOTORIOUS hardman Dave Courtney has died aged 64.
The gangster, who was once an associate of the Kray twins, was tragically found dead at his home in south east London with a suspected gunshot wound.
The Sun understands the tragedy happened around 4am on Sunday.
Cops were then called to Courtney's property, dubbed Camelot Castle, around 11am.
Officers made the tragic discovery before Courtney was pronounced dead shortly after.
His family confirmed Dave's death on Sunday afternoon.
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They said in a statement: "It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Dave Courtney at the age of 64."
The Metropolitan Police have described the death as "unexpected" and are yet to carry out formal identification.
His death came just hours after Dave shared a series of snaps as he watched his beloved Charlton Athletic on Saturday.
Teary neighbour Sheila Wellcome, 68, told The Sun that Courtney's pal rang to tell her this morning that he had been "shot".
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She said: “I saw Dave at around 8pm last night – he seemed in good spirits after going to the Charlton match with his friends.
“I passed him a cigarette over the wall an hour later and he was laughing and joking, then said he was tired and going to go to bed.
“Then I got a call this morning from his friend Brendan, who lives with him, saying Dave has been shot and is dead, and the police also told me he’d died.
“We knew Dave was in a lot of pain. He was suffering with terrible arthritis – he could barely roll a cigarette.
“But he seemed happy. He’d just got his driving licence back and was getting a new Peugeot which he was really excited about.
“I just can’t believe I’m never going to see him again. It’s so sad.”
Retired cash office worker and gran-of-six Sheila said Courtney owned around 12 decommissioned firearms – including handguns, shotguns and rifles which he kept in his front room.
She added: “Police used to come round and check on them occasionally.
“To Dave, they were just ornaments.”
Courtney’s pal Chris Collins, 52, a market trader and dad-of-one, laid flowers at the scene.
He said: “The world is a worse place today having lost Dave.
“He and I go back many years and he is a very good man.
“He had the scariest phone book this side of the moon, let me tell you – but he was an absolute gentleman.
“He didn’t want to miss out on a minute of life. He was frightened of missing out.”
Courtney's road in Plumstead, south east London, was cordoned off today with a cop manning its entrance.
A spokesperson for the Met Police said: "Police were called at about 11:25hrs on Sunday, 22 October to a residential address on Chestnut Rise, SE18 following reports of a man found deceased.
"Officers and the London Ambulance Service attended.
"A 64-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene. His family has been informed.
"Formal identification has not taken place.
"The death is currently being treated as unexpected and is under investigation.
"There have been no arrests."
I got a call this morning from his friend Brendan, who lives with him, saying Dave has been shot and is dead
Tributes have since poured in for the "British legend" who referred to himself as Dave Courtney OBE – One Big Ego.
Bare knuckle boxing company BKB, who Courtney supported, said: "We are saddened to hear of the passing of our longest running supporters of bare knuckle boxing in the UK Dave Courtney OBE.
"Thank you for all your help over the years and our thoughts and wishes are with Dave's close friends & family.
"A true BRITISH LEGEND. Love always x BKB & all the TEAM."
Family member Pat Courtney wrote on Facebook: "RIP Bruv xx."
Matt Legg posted a series of photos with the caption: "R.I.P Dave Courtney.
"I only spoke to him on Thursday for my Dave Legeno tribute video.
"And we were out together last Friday.
"I still remember meeting Dave 25 years ago, which is the picture with the Knuckle Dusters on."
His death comes after he was hauled before a judge in July this year for having knuckledusters, daggers and throwing stars in his home.
But Courtney had the charges dropped against him after they were found to be props for a film.
Self-proclaimed former gangster Courtney had swapped his life of crime to become a recognised author and celebrity.
The cockney claimed to have links to the Kray twins and that he was the inspiration for Vinnie Jones' character in Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels.
In 2017 he suffered a minor heart attack which he vowed wouldn't be the end of him.
He had also claimed to have been shot, stabbed and had his nose bitten off, during a life of crime and violence, reports the Sunday Mirror.
Courtney was previously in the middle of writing his 10th book and told of how proud he was that had come so far.
He said: "I'm a lucky man.
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