Steven Dick the deputy head of mission at the British Embassy in Budapest has died after contracting coronavirus, the Foreign Office has said.
The 37-year-old died on Tuesday in Hungary.
He had served as Deputy British Ambassador to Hungary since December, according to a biography published on the UK government’s website.
In a statement, his parents Steven and Carol Dick said: “Steven was a much-loved son, grandson and nephew. He was kind, funny and generous.
“It was always his dream to work for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and he was very happy representing our country overseas.
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Steven Dick, 37, the deputy head of mission at the British Embassy in Budapest has died after contracting coronavirus
“We are devastated by his loss and ask for privacy at this tragic time.”
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “I am desperately saddened by the news of Steven’s death and my heart goes out to his parents Steven and Carol.
“Steven was a dedicated diplomat and represented his country with great skill and passion. He will be missed by all those who knew him and worked with him.”
Before taking up his post in Hungary, Mr Dick had roles at the British Embassies in Kabul and Riyadh, and was most recently head of corporate strategy and governance at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
In an interview published on website XpatLoop in December, Mr Dick was asked what social issue he feels most strongly about, he said: “Equal access to education – every child should have the chance to thrive, whether male, female rich or poor.”
Dominic Raab paid tribute to Steven
Asked about his personal motto, he said: “Better to regret what you’ve done than regret not having done it.”
The UK Ambassador to Hungary, Iain Lindsay, worked with Mr Dick since last October, and said: “I and my team and our families are deeply saddened and shocked at Steven’s passing.
“We extend our deepest condolences and sympathy to his family and friends.
“Steven was a dear colleague and friend who had made a tremendous impression in Hungary since his arrival last October with his personal warmth and his sheer professionalism, not least his excellent Hungarian.
“As our fellow Scot Robert Burns, whose works we had recently recited together, wrote ‘Few hearts like his, with virtue warm’d, Few heads with knowledge so inform’d.’ We will miss him so much.”
Sir Simon McDonald, permanent under-secretary at the FCO, said: “This is simply shattering news. I knew Steven personally and he was an exemplary officer and a lovely man.
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“He was just starting out on what was sure to be an outstanding career and his friends around the world and across the FCO will miss him sorely.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
The Guardian reporter Shaun Walker said Steven told him he had the virus, but he was “feeling fine.”
He tweeted: “Deputy British ambassador Steven Dick, 37, died yesterday after contracting coronavirus. He was a really nice bloke and a great diplomat. Last week he told me he had the virus but was feeling fine. Awful.”
Dick’s death brought the number of coronavirus fatalities in Hungary to 10, according to the Hungarian government’s official tally published earlier in the day, which said only that a British national had died as a result of the virus.
As of Wednesday afternoon, 226 people were confirmed as infected with the disease in Hungary.
Responding to the death of Mr Dick, chairman of the Commons health committee, and former foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme: “It’s very, very sad.
“And, I think it reminds us that it isn’t just NHS frontline workers who are putting their lives in danger in the course of doing their duties for the country.
“And FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) staff all over the world, they have had a bit of stick in the last few days because it’s been so difficult to try and get people home, but, in reality, they are human beings and at a time like this they have elderly relatives in the UK, they want to be with them to make sure they are safe and well.
“They can’t do that. And, sometimes, when you are abroad you don’t get access to the kind of medical facilities that you would get access to here.
“I think the other thing that will shock people is his age.”