The daughter of ‘holiday king’ Harry Goodman has paid tribute to her father, describing him as a “legend in work and life”.

Goodman, who is credited with pioneering the low-cost package holiday model, died of a heart attack on Monday aged 79 while on holiday in Tenerife.

He founded and ran International Leisure Group (ILG) which became the UK’s second-largest operator behind Thomson Holidays in the 1980s. He saw his empire fail spectacularly in 1991 owing £500 million.

His daughter Naomi Tolson said: “He was a total legend in work and in life. He was one of those people who had a presence about him.

“Dad was a massive risk taker and had such vision because he came from nothing so he always felt like he had nothing to lose.”

She said the pair were very close and spoke on the phone just an hour before he passed away.

“He was in good spirits. He had just started plans to write a book about his life.

“He had a massive heart attack while he was laying by the pool but he went quickly and wasn’t in any pain for long.”

Tolson said her father had suffered a heart attack 11 years ago and was diagnosed with lung and heart disease as well as diabetes.

“The doctors always said to him: ‘we’re not quite sure how you’re still alive.’”

Growing up, Tolson said she had a “dream childhood”.

“Growing up was pretty special. We went on amazing holidays, private jets, Disneyland every year, shopping for toys in Harrods. It was the dream childhood. I think he lived his childhood through us as he didn’t have much of one himself.”

Goodman was born in the East End of London and orphaned aged 11. He got his first break in travel working at an agency in Bond Street and went on to set-up Intasun, later renamed International Leisure Group.

Goodman was married three times and had three children. Tolson said her father enjoyed a close relationship with all his ex-wives and children.

His current wife Yvonne has been left “devastated” by his death, Tolson said. The couple lived in Market Harborough in Leicestershire.

Dozens of tributes have been paid to Goodman this week by industry figures, many of whom worked with him during his ILG days.

Details of his funeral are yet to be confirmed.

More: Obituary: Harry Goodman, ‘massive risk-taker with real vision’

Tributes paid to Harry Goodman