TRIBUTES HAVE been paid to a young doctor from Royal Victoria Hospital who has tragically died after falling ill with suspected coronavirus.
Dr Muhanad Noward Eltayib was a cardiac surgeon and registrar at the Belfast hospital.
Originally from Sudan, Dr Eltayib had been self-isolating with flu-like symptoms prior to his death.
Police were called to his apartment at Donegall Quay after friends were unable to contact the 36-year-old over the weekend.
His father, who is also a doctor in Saudi Arabia, first raised the alarm after he also lost contact with his son and asked a close friend to get in touch.
A PSNI spokesperson said: "Police attended the scene of the sudden death of a man at an apartment in the Donegall Quay area of Belfast on Monday 20 April.
"The death is not believed to be suspicious."
Thoughts with family friends and colleagues of Dr Muhanad Noward Eltayib so so sad. Unfair. #NHSheroes This man needs recognition for his work which sadly lost him his life. All NHS workers are risking their lives and truly are an inspiration RIP those lost in this battle 😢
— Janet Hagen (@janethagen12) April 20, 2020
It is so far unclear how long Dr Eltayib had been ill for or how long he had been self-isolating.
News of his death has shocked friends and colleagues alike.
A Belfast Trust spokesman said: "We are saddened to have learned of the death of our esteemed colleague.”
“We send out our deepest sympathies to his family and colleagues at this difficult time.
Reem Bakheit, who studied medicine with Dr Eltayib back in Sudan, told Belfast Live: "We just lost a kind white (pure) hearted soul but he will never be lost in our memories and thoughts of him.
"Our deepest sympathies go out to his family. Surely we belong to Allah and to him shall we return."
The Lord Lieutenant and Belfast Lieutenancy are greatly saddened to learn of the death of Dr Muhanad Noward Eltayib. To his family and professional colleagues at the RVH, they extend their most profound sympathies. @BelfastTrust @HSCBoard
— BelfastLieutenancy (@BLieutenancy) April 21, 2020
The Lord Lieutenant of Belfast Fionnuala Jay-O'Boyle, said she was "greatly saddened to learn of the death of Dr Muhanad Noward Eltayib. To his family and professional colleagues at the RVH, they extend their most profound sympathies".
Journalist and writer Joe Nawaz paid Dr Eltayib the highest tribute, explaining how he was "part of the team that looked after my mum when she underwent a very serious heart procedure at the Royal".
"He visited her every day just to see how she was getting on. A beautiful human being by all accounts".
Belfast city councillor and health worker, Paul McCusker, was also among those to pay tribute.
"This is very sad news for Belfast and Northern Ireland to hear of the death of this dedicated doctor who was working on the frontline fighting the coronavirus pandemic,” he said,
"Doctors, nurses and frontline staff in the NHS risk their lives daily fighting this horrible virus and continue to need our full support from government and the community.
"It’s very difficult being away from family and having to make huge changes in your life being part of dedicated teams in the NHS working long hours to save lives while risking your own.
"As a city our thoughts are with the family, friends and colleagues of this doctor who’s dedication, care and compassion he gave others will never be forgotten."
So saddened by the deaths of so many Health Care Workers from Covid19.
More than 100 colleagues have now died!
We must remember every single one of them.
RIP Dr Muhanad Noward Eltayib#OurNHSPeople #COVID19 #coronavirus #NHSheroes @NursingNotesUK @TheBMAhttps://t.co/nTHwsfFT5p
— Gaurav Gupta (@drguptagaurav) April 21, 2020
Sinn Féin MP Paul Maskey also extended his condolences to Dr Eltayib’s family, friends and colleagues.
"I was saddened tonight when I heard about the death of doctor Muhanad Nowar Eltayib who has passed away,” the West Belfast MP said.
"He was originally from Sudan and worked as a cardiac surgeon in the Royal Victoria Hospital.
"Like many in our health service, he worked tirelessly and heroically in challenging circumstances to care for the most vulnerable during this pandemic.
"We owe him we great deal of gratitude for this.
"I extend my heartfelt condolences and those of the community of West Belfast to his family, friends and colleagues, particularly all those who worked with him in the Royal Victoria Hospital battling Covid-19."