Britain’s deputy ambassador to Hungary, Steven Dick, has died in Budapest after contracting coronavirus. Dick, 37, died on Tuesday, according to a Foreign Office statement on Wednesday afternoon.
“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,” said the foreign secretary, Dominic Raab.
Dick joined the FCO in 2008 and had previously been posted to Kabul and Riyadh. He took up his posting in Budapest last autumn after undergoing a year of full-time intensive Hungarian language training. He was well-liked on the diplomatic circuit in the city and was friendly, sociable and enthusiastic about his work.
He had recently returned to Budapest from a holiday in Mexico, and early last week he said in a WhatsApp message that he had contracted coronavirus and was in isolation, but was feeling fine except for being bored.
Local sources said he had been treated at a hospital in Budapest in recent days. It appears his condition deteriorated rapidly. It was not immediately clear whether he had suffered from any underlying health conditions.
His parents, Steven and Carol Dick, paid tribute. “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 and Commonwealth Office and he was very happy representing our country overseas. We are devastated by his loss and ask for privacy at this tragic time,” they said in a statement circulated by the FCO.
Sir Simon McDonald, the permanent under-secretary at the FCO, said: “I knew Steven personally and he was an exemplary officer and a lovely man. 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.”
Hungary has reported just 226 confirmed cases of coronavirus, though the country has carried out only 6,800 tests, leading to fears that the real figure could be much higher. Dick was the 10th death in the country.
At the British embassy in Budapest, colleagues expressed shock and sadness at the news.
“We extend our deepest condolences and sympathy to his family and friends,” said the British ambassador to Hungary, Iain Lindsay. “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.”