Englishman Martyn Hett was a PR manager who has been confirmed as one of the 22 victims killed by a suicide bomber at the Manchester Arena on Monday. Friends are paying tribute to him as an "icon of all our lives." Scores of friends had tweeted pleas for him to contact them, or for others to give his whereabouts. A statement from the family declared: "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,” the statement added. “His infectious laugh and his niche sense of humour will stay with us forever.”

Earlier, a man who described himself as Hett’s “soul-mate” had confirmed the death. Russell Hayward, with whom he appeared on the BBC show “Come Dine With Me,” tweeted, "We got the news last night that our wonderful, iconic and beautiful Martyn didn't survive." Hayward wrote, "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.”

In a tweet on the morning after the blast that killed 22 and maimed scores, Hayward tweeted to his dead companion: “Soulmate doesn't even come close. Come back to us Martyn so we can watch last nights Corrie together.” Corrie is a reference to the “Coronation Street” television series. Hayward has been described in the media as Hett’s partner.

In the hours before the concert, Hett tweeted a photo of Hayward in advance of a planned two-month trip to the US. The accompanying caption was: “Last day with my hun having prosecco in the sun". In June 2016, he responded to a tweet from “His Angel Eyes,” who wrote Muslims killing people, shouting Allahu Akbar and you’re on your soapbox complaining it’s nothing to do with religion. OMFG!”

Hett responded: The biggest casualties of ISIS attacks have been Muslims. These terrorists may identify as Muslim but they are sick.”

The perpetrator of the bombing, Salman Abedi, has been identified as a 23-year-old Muslim of Libyan parentage. While Abedi was born and bred in the UK, his parents came from Libya as refugees. One of his brothers was arrested in Manchester, while Abedi’s home was raided. Bomb-making materials were found there. Abedi’s father and another brother were arrested by security authorities in Libya.

 



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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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