Thompson's two straight decathlon gold medals in 1980 and 1984 make him one of the best all-round athletes of all time and also one of Britain's finest ever Olympians.
The London-born athlete dominated the multi-event discipline in the late 1970s and into the 80s, also winning a World Championship, two European Championship, and three Commonwealth golds.
As the world record holder, he went into the 1980 Moscow Olympics as the big favourite and comfortably beat Soviet athletes Yuriy Kutsenko and Sergey Zhelanov to gold.
He was crowned world champion in 1983 but lost his world record to West German Jurgen Hingsen, who emerged as a major challenger ahead of the 1984 Games in Los Angeles.
But Thompson took the advantage from the first event, the 100m, and would hold it all the way to the end of the 1,500m to retain his title.
His score was also later ratified as a new world record for good measure and the mark still stands as the best ever by a British athlete.
One year before the Seoul Olympics, Thompson was condemned to his first defeat in the event since 1979 and was again beaten as he attempted a third straight triumph at the 1988 Games.
He eventually retired in 1992 and will be remembered as one of the brightest and often controversial personalities in British sport as well for his achievements in the gruelling, 10-event test.