One of Scotland's greatest Commonwealth Games athletes has died, weeks before she was scheduled to present medals at Glasgow 2014.

Helen Orr Gordon, who came to be known as Elenor Gordon, was the first Scottish woman to win gold in the competition - it was then known as the Empire Games - when she triumphed at the 220 yards breaststroke in Auckland in 1950.

She also won bronze in 1950 in the 3x110-yard relay, and she went on to win gold twice four years later in Vancouver, ensuring that she has the best Commonwealth Games record of any female Scottish competitor. She also won an Olympic bronze in the 1952 Games in Helsinki, and remains the last female Scottish swimmer to have won an individual medal on the greatest stage in sport.

Gordon, who was in her early 80s and had, in recent years, been largely confined to a wheelchair because of a degenerative spinal condition, had been looking forward to the Glasgow Games when she passed away.

Mike Hooper, chief executive officer of the Commonwealth Games Federation, said: "All at the CGF are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Elenor Gordon, an outstanding Scottish and Commonwealth athlete. Elenor was due to present medals at a swimming event at the forthcoming Commonwealth Games, which she was delighted by and eagerly looking forward to. Elenor won three golds and a bronze in swimming at the 1950 and 1954 Games, so this would have been especially appropriate."

From Hamilton, her father was a lifeguard at the town's swimming baths. She faced a six-week journey by boat to reach the 1950 Games in New Zealand, when she was aged just 16.

Speaking to Herald Sport in February, she recalled how she spent the trip practising in a tiny wooden-framed tank. "It wasn't even the size of my living room: just four or five strokes and you were at the end. But my turns were brilliant by the time we reached New Zealand," she said. "I was just 16 and everything was new to us, all a big adventure. The journey wasn't in the least bit boring. I can still feel the hairs prickling on the back of the neck, from the opening ceremony."

Her funeral will be at Daldowie. David Grevemberg, Glasgow 2014 chief executive, said: "We are really sad to hear of the death of Elenor Gordon, a true Commonwealth athlete and a great Scottish sporting legend. Our thoughts are with her family and friends."