ATTEMPTS by the emergency services to save the life of a Risca butcher, who was taken ill, ended tragically when he died last night.

Michael Williams, 58, who was rescued from a first-floor flat in Tredegar Street yesterday, was pronounced dead at about 8.30pm.

His son, Paul, 31, said his father's death came as a complete shock.

"He was suffering from breathing difficulties but we don't know the cause of death yet," he said.

Firefighters, ambulance workers and police all worked together to help take Mr Williams from the flat above his butchers shop to hospital.

Contractors were called in to build a scaffolding structure and ramp to lower Mr Williams from the flat, and a window had to be removed to get him out.

The operation took several hours and was witnessed by shoppers and local shopworkers.

Passers-by said Mr Williams was a "large man".

Paul Williams said his death would send shockwaves around the community.

"He was very business orientated," he said.

"He was very generous, always doing his bits for charity. He could not do enough for his customers."

A spokeswoman for South Wales Fire Service said they were called in by the ambulance service to help at 12.49am on Monday as they were having access problems.

Two fire-engines, from Abercarn and Maindee, as well as a specialist rescue vehicle, attended, along with 18 firefighters.

The spokeswoman said: "Obviously there was also a doctor there to ensure the casualty was comfortable.

"He was stabilised by paramedics.

"A risk assessment was carried out and we then mobilised the search and rescue team, who have hoists and ropes."

She added contractors had to be brought in to erect the scaffolding structure and ramp down to the road.

An improvised walkway was also made, she said.

A first-floor window was then removed so that Mr Williams could be taken out.

Part of Tredegar Street was sealed off by police during the operation.

Sergeant Richard Dawe said that officers were called at 8.30am yesterday to help with traffic control as the ramp had to come into the road.

He said the road was re-opened by 12.30pm.

Mr Williams was born in Newbridge. He attended what was then Newbridge Grammar School before starting work at International Superstore in Cwmbran.

He leaves his widow, Pat, and two sons, Richard, 32, and Paul, 31.