The family of a top surgeon who lost his battle with coronavirus have today thanked the thousands who have paid tribute to him.
The death of Dr Sadeq Elhowsh, an orthopaedic surgeon at Whiston Hospital, touched hearts across Merseyside and beyond last month, prompting an outpouring of grief.
Today his nephew, Raeif Elhoush, said the kind words of both loved ones and strangers helped the family "forget some of the pain that we felt".
Dr Elhowsh spent more than 17 years with St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, where his catchphrase was said to be: "Don't worry, I will sort it."
Colleagues lined the street outside Whiston Hospital when the married dad-of-four was taken away after losing his fight with Covid-19 on April 20.
The following Thursday, his former colleagues placed a portrait of the "true gentleman" on an easel outside the hospital and surrounded it as they took part in the weekly applause for those helping in the battle against the pandemic.
Raeif said his uncle was not just a relative to him, but also a "true friend".
He recalled how Dr Elhowsh supported him when, aged 18, he moved from Libya to study at the University of Manchester.
When he graduated in Petroleum Engineering, it was his uncle who made sure a family member was present for the ceremony.
Raeif, now 32, said: "Dr Sadeq Elhowsh was more than an uncle to me, he was truly a great friend. He was an intelligent, kind-hearted, determined, cheerful and highly accomplished man.
"I will never forget the day, a few years ago, my uncle did not hesitate for a second to attend my bachelor graduation ceremony.
"This was at a time when my parents could not be at the ceremony.
"I still think of all the love, care, kindness and support he always showed me. I will hold on to our memories forever.
"There are no words that can describe my loss.
"He left the world too soon, but he will always be by our side – loving us, caring about us and smiling down at us.
"He sacrificed his life for a great cause. He genuinely cared about people and always wanted to spread happiness. He will be loved and eternally missed. He was indeed a real hero and an uncle to be proud of."
While the 58-year-old's death has devastated his family, Raeif said the "honour and respect" shown for him by friends and strangers has helped them "forget some of the pain that we felt".
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And he said he was speaking on behalf of his family when he said: "I am extremely appreciative for all the kind words and messages I have received. He was dearly loved by everyone.
"I would like to express my deepest gratitude to all the staff of Whiston Hospital for summing up the true meaning of humanity in the majestic scene and standing up to pay respect to their colleague.
"Moments such as these will never be forgotten. Thank you for showing to the world that humanity has no religion, ethnicity or colour.
"Finally, I would like to extend my appreciation to all the neighbours, friends and colleagues, who did not hesitate to show endless care and support during this unprecedented time."