Tributes have been paid to Hartlepool-born man David Dixon after it was confirmed he was killed in a terrorist attack in Brussels.
Prime Minister David Cameron said on social media he was “deeply saddened” by the news which has left the family devastated.
Mr Dixon, 50, died in the bombing of the Belgian capital’s Metro system just minutes after he reportedly sent a text assuring a worried relative in England he was not involved in the atrocity.
His family said in a statement yesterday: “This morning we received the most terrible and devastating news about our beloved David.
“At this most painful time our family would gratefully appreciate it if we could be left alone to grieve in private. Please respect our wishes.”
A Foreign Office statement said: “We can confirm David Dixon lost his life in the attack which took place in Brussels on Tuesday 22 March 2016. Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time and our Embassy staff are continuing to support them.”
Mr Dixon, an IT programmer, grew up in Hartlepool and had lived in Brussels with his partner Charlotte Sutcliffe for more than 10 years.
He still has a number of family members in the town including a brother who is a solicitor.
Mr Dixon was a former pupil at High Tunstall College of Science in Elwick Road.
Headteacher Mark Tilling said: “High Tunstall is extremely saddened to hear of the tragic death of former student David Dixon.
“Our thoughts and prayers are very much with David’s family and friends at this difficult time and as a mark of respect we will arrange for the flag to fly half-mast at the school.”
David Cameron tweeted: “I am deeply saddened to hear David Dixon was killed in the Brussels attacks. My thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family.”
At least 32 people were killed and 270 injured when suicide bombs ripped through the city’s airport and a Metro station on Tuesday morning.
Mr Dixon’s family previously said they were “anxiously waiting” and hoping for good news before yesterday’s devastating news.
It is thought he got on the Metro to go to work and got caught up in the attack shortly after texting his aunt in County Durham to say that he was alright.
Seven British nationals are known to have been injured in the attacks.