Mourners arrive for ironman champion Dean Mercer's funeral

Mourners attend the memorial service for Dean Mercer on the Gold Coast. Courtesy: Dan Peled/AAP

Mourners have begun arriving for the funeral of former ironman champion Dean Mercer on the Gold Coast.

Mercer, 47, died last week after suffering a heart attack while driving his car.

About 2000 people are anticipated to attend the service for the father of four, which is being held at the Gold Coast Sports and Leisure Centre.

Among the assembled crowd are dozens of people from Mercer’s Kurrawa Surf Lifesaving Club in club colours, as well as Olympians Brooke Hanson and Ky Hurst.

Dozens of surf-skis, surfboards and a surf lifesaving boat have been positioned on display outside the centre.

Flags from several local surf lifesaving clubs have also been put on display on the steps leading into the centre.

A wooden oar given to Mercer when he was inducted into the ironman hall of fame lies in front of his coffin, which is topped by flowers.

Friday’s service will include tributes from Mercer’s widow Reen and their eldest son Brayden and a speech from Mercer’s ironman champion brother Darren.

Family spokesman Ian Hanson will also read a tribute to Mercer written by his father John, mother Maureen and sister Kylie.