The family of Martyn Hett have paid tribute to the Manchester attack victim, describing him as an “icon of all our lives”.
The 29-year-old PR manager from Stockport, whose scores of friends had tweeted asking for the public to find him, was days away from setting off on a trip to the US when he was killed in the suicide bomb attack on Manchester Arena.
In a statement issued by Greater Manchester Police, his devastated family said he “just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time”.
The statement added: “Words cannot describe the generosity and kindness our families have received over the last few days. “We are overwhelmed with the amount of lives he has touched and the kind words that are being said about him.
“Martyn was the icon of all our lives. His infectious laugh and his niche sense of humour will stay with us forever.
“He lived for every moment of every day and fitted an entire lifetime of memories into his 29 years.
“Whilst they have taken the life out of Martyn, no one can, and ever will, take Martyn out of our lives.”
Mr Hett’s death had earlier been confirmed by his ‘soulmate’, Russell Hayward, with whom he appeared on Come Dine With Me.
“We got the news last night that our wonderful, iconic and beautiful Martyn didn’t survive,” Mr Hayward tweeted.
“He left the world exactly how he lived, centre of attention. I’m in a really bad way so please forgive if I don’t reply.
“Thankfully I have his wonderful and amazing friends to keep each other strong. I love you Martyn. I always will”.
His brother, Dan Hett, tweeted: “They found my brother last night. We are heartbroken.”
On Tuesday, Mr Hett’s partner wrote: “Soulmate doesn’t even come close. Come back to us Martyn so we can watch last nights Corrie together”.
Martyn Hett’s last tweet was from the concert, where he was last seen getting a drink from the bar at around 10 past 10.
He wrote: “When you sneak out for a toilet break on the Macy Gray song and the entire arena had the same idea
He also had just been saying goodbye to his boyfriend before he set off on his dream tour of the United States, due to last two months.
He wrote: “Last day with my hun having prosecco in the sun”.
Tributes from friends have been pouring in in the short time since the news was announced.
One wrote: “I’ve never met someone who lived their life as fully as he did, he was fearless and confident in such an inspiring way.
“I want our national anthem replaced with his cackle. Not many people can leave a legacy as strong as he did just by being himself. He was as he always said, iconic.”
His step-mother Kathryn Hett, 59, told the Sun the family were “devastated” after being unable to get hold of Martyn yesterday.
She said: “He was due to go to America tomorrow for two months for the holiday of a lifetime. So he’s been having lots of parties with family and friends. We saw him on Friday night.
“He’s got so many friends, he has a huge network. If he was safe he would have made an attempt to get in touch with somebody.
“I didn’t even know he was there last night until we heard this morning, his dad got the call at work. His mum and dad are at the Etihad Stadium now.
“They’ve said the staff have been really good looking after people there. People there are just in shock. I think there is very little information the can give to anybody.
“I’ve been married to his dad for 25 years and I’ve known him since he was five. We’re very close. He works in PR.
“I feel absolutely devastated. It’s so awful. It’s right on our doorstep. Something like this is always in the back of your mind in this day and age.”
Gregarious and kind Martyn Hett had hundreds, if not thousands, of friends.
He was known for his vivacious personality, which has propelled him onto television shows such as Come Dine With Me, which he won, and Tattoo Fixers, in which he charmed the nation when showed off his tattoo of Deirdre Barlow.
Many shared a story of his kindness to his mother where they were waiting for the news.
Mrs Hett set up a stand where her knitted items could be sold. However, she told him that she hadn’t managed to sell any and wanted to give up.
He wrote: “My mum has set up her own stall at a craft fair and has messaged me to say she hasn’t sold anything yet and my heart is breaking”.