TRIBUTES have been paid to a “dedicated” councillor who died suddenly on his way home from a doctor’s appointment.

Mike Assenheim, Independent councillor for Shoebury, was rushed to Basildon Hospital after collapsing yesterday morning. It is understood he had a heart attack.

The 74-year-old - lovingly known as Mr Shoebury - leaves behind wife Evelyn and two sons. He also leaves two grandchildren, with a third on the way.

Independent group leader Ron Woodley said: “This is devastating, for the family and for the town. Mike was Mr Shoebury and will be sadly missed. He was a superb councillor and absolutely dedicated. It seems such a shame.

“I spoke to Evelyn who said he had not been feeling well overnight and booked a doctor’s appointment for yesterday morning. He took a taxi and I understand it happened shortly after he left the doctor. It is so sad his family didn’t get to say goodbye.

“Mike cemented in Shoebury how councillors should work for residents.”

Fellow Independent Martin Terry added: “It is dreadful. He was so full of life. He was a very good friend and I was very close to him and his wife. He was a very popular guy.”

John Lamb, Tory leader of Southend Council, also spoke of his shock. He said: “It is really sad news. By all accounts he had a heart attack. It was so sudden. I only saw him the other day.

“He and Evelyn were always together . There was just no warning, it is terrible.”

Floyd Waterworth, UKIP group leader and councillor for Blenheim Park, called for a minute’s silence at next Wednesday’s development control meeting.

He said: “Mike was always a very keen participant in our debates on the development control committee. At our last one he brought his own jacket and surveying kit, when we had a look at the old Britannia pub on the seafront.

“He was know as Mr Shoebury and had a very detailed knowledge of his patch. He will be very much missed.”

Mr Assenheim was chairman of Shoeburyness Residents’ Association and of the Coalition of Borough Residents’ Associations before becoming a councillor for Shoebury ward in September 2007.