I didn’t know Tom personally, but many of my colleagues did. The past couple of months have been an extremely difficult and upsetting time for them, and everybody connected with Warwick University. Tom seems to have been universally liked and admired by everybody who had the good fortune to know him.
It has been apparent for some weeks that the chances of his survival were extremely slim, given the extremely harsh environment of the Atacama Desert. I’m told by colleagues who have visited La Silla that going out for a walk is usually strictly prohibited without careful preparation and regular radio contact. I suppose the one positive from today’s news is that at least there’s now some closure for his family and friends.