Kingfisher bosses have paid tribute to David Quayle, the co-founder and the ‘Q’ behind B&Q, who has died, aged 73.

He died of a suspected heart attack on board a cruise ship off South Africa.

Quayle started up the business in 1969 with co-founder and brother-in-law Richard Block. They opened their first store in Southampton, under the name Block and Quayle initially.

The concept revolutionised DIY retailing, by putting a wide range of products under one roof.

Philanthropist Quayle was born in 1936 and joined the RAF before working at Tyrrell & Green, a John Lewis Partnership store in Southampton. He then joined Mary Tiles before setting up B&Q.

Block left B&Q in 1976, by which time there were 26 stores. Quayle stayed at B&Q until 1982, when he joined the main board of Woolworths.

He then enjoyed stints at Ritz Video rental chain and Granada Leisure, which comprised various arms from theme parks to service stations.

From the profits made from the sale of B&Q to Woolworths, Quayle founded the Tramman Trust, which donated money to many causes.

Ian Cheshire, chief executive of B&Q owner Kingfisher said: “David Quayle was a true entrepreneur who, together with B&Q’s co-founder Richard Block, created a genuinely new retail concept.  It was David’s vision that helped create the successful B&Q we know today, with its 330 stores and 30,000 staff. We all owe him a great debt. He will be greatly missed.”

Chief executive of B&Q and Kingfisher UK Euan Sutherland said: “We are all saddened at B&Q to hear of the death of one of our founders, David Quayle. He was an inspirational man. I had the privilege of meeting him when he visited us last year at our New Malden store to see how the business had moved on, where he demonstrated a sharp eye for business and a fantastic way with people. We will all miss him and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.”