Australian cyclist Dean Woods, who was part of his country's gold medal winning pursuit team at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics has died at the age of 55 ©Getty Images

Australian cyclist Dean Woods, who was part of a team that won a surprise gold at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, has died at the age of 55 after a battle with cancer.

Woods, who enjoyed a successful track cycling career that spanned nearly two decades, first rose to prominence during the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, where his team won gold in the 4,000 metres pursuit. 

This team, initially considered to be underdogs, came to be known as ‘Charlie’s Angels’ after their coach Charlie Walsh.

The ‘Angels’ famously beat the American favourites by 3.38 seconds, despite having largely inferior bikes.

Recalling the triumph in 2004 Woods told the Australian Border Mail: "Expectations weren't high for us from the press, but we thought we would do pretty well."

Woods, who was the youngest member of the team at the age of only 18, shot to national fame after the Games and became a figurehead of the famed Australian track cycling programme.

Along with his podium finishes at the Olympics in Seoul 1988 and Atlanta 1996, Woods also exceeded in the Commonwealth Games.

Woods claimed gold in the individual and team pursuit at Edinburgh in 1986 and another team gold in Victoria, British Columbia ten years later.

No stranger to change, Woods transitioned from track to road and back to track during his career.

He still holds the record of the fastest time in the Melbourne to Warrnambool Classic road race.

After retiring at the age of 30, Woods settled back into life in his hometown of Wangarrata in southeastern Australia.

Woods even established his own bike shop in Wangarrata, named Dean Woods Direct, which he eventually sold on.

Woods daughter Paris posted a fitting tribute to her father on his Facebook page.

She wrote: "Today our boy rode his final lap. He’ll be missed by everybody whose lives he touched. Admired, loved and respected by all. A truly iconic legend. Vale Dean Woods O.A.M."