A HOLIDAYMAKER died while staying at a Turkish hotel where several other guests are believed to have been struck down by legionnaire's disease.

Turkish authorities said Lloyd Nixon, 68, of Consett, had contracted pneumonia and suffered a heart attack.

But his widow, Winnie, 62, is convinced he died from legionnaire's disease after learning that six other guests from the region may have caught the potentially deadly bug while staying at the Grand Sarba, in Icmeler, near Marmaris.

The group is taking legal action against the tour operator that organised their holidays.

Mrs Nixon, of Oakdale Road, believes her husband of 43 years may have contracted the bug from the shower.

She said: "It is the only thing we can think of because it was so antiquated and he was so healthy beforehand.

"It was so old that you had to let the brown water run for a while before it would turn clear.

"I went out there a happily married woman and I have come back a widow."

Mr Nixon fell ill towards the end of their fortnight's break. He became lethargic and suffered pains for four days before being taken to hospital, where he died on September 26.

Mrs Nixon does not recall a post-mortem examination being carried out, but the Turkish death certificate recorded the cause of death as a heart attack.

Legionnaire's disease is a type of pneumonia or lung infection, and outbreaks tend to occur in healthy people staying in hotels or other buildings in which the cooling system or showers have become infected by legionella germs.

Alan Corner, of South Shields, South Tyneside, and Ronnie Culyer, of North Shields, North Tyneside, are among six others from the region who are taking legal action after falling ill.

Mr Corner, 52, also stayed at the hotel during September, when he developed a high temperature, dizziness, and diarrhoea.

On his return home, he was admitted to hospital, where doctors diagnosed legionnaire's disease.

He said: "I suffer very frequently with memory loss and am finding it very difficult to adapt to normal life due to the after effects of the disease."

Mr Culyer, 45, stayed at the Grand Sarba in October when he developed similar symptoms.

He spent nine days in hospital when he arrived home.

Solicitors Irwin Mitchell is suing the tour operator Goldtrail on their behalf for negligence, breach of contract and misrepresentation under the Package Travel Regulations Act 1992.

A Goldtrail spokesman said it would be inappropriate to comment until the judicial process was complete.