Editor’s Note: Our readers responded strongly to this story when it originally ran; we’re reposting it here in case you missed it.
While aboard a flight from Hong Kong to the United Kingdom, a woman died in her sleep right next to her family.
Helen Rhodes was found not breathing by her husband and two children on the Aug. 5 flight, with eight hours left to travel in the 12-and-a-half-hour trip.
The cause of death remains unknown.
“We are still in disbelief and shock about the sudden passing of our dearest friend Helen Rhodes, whose life has touched many people in Hong Kong and the UK,” family friend Jayne Jeje wrote on GoFundMe.
“Although this was extremely traumatizing to the family, they all had time to say what they needed to say to her,” Jeje wrote on the GoFundMe page. “Needless to mention, they are devastated. This loss is unimaginable.”
Rhodes and her immediate family lived in Hong Kong for 15 years before choosing to return to the U.K., JeJe wrote.
“Helen was excited and nervous about the move, but looked forward to seeing her family back home, as she had not seen her family or aging parents since the pandemic began,” Jeje wrote. “Sadly, she never got to see them again.”
In addition to being a “devoted wife and mother” and “the glue that held her family together,” Rhodes worked as a midwife who “was always willing to lend a helping hand or advice to anyone who needed it,” JeJe wrote.
“She was the pulse of her community in Tung Chung, in Hong Kong. She couldn’t walk a few feet and not run into someone she knew by name.”
Neither the Post report nor the fundraiser post included any mention of a previous health condition. They also did not include the ages of Rhodes’ children.
Helen Rhodes was 46, according to the Times of London. Her husband, Simon, is 49.
“We are supporting the family of a British woman who died on a flight to Frankfurt and are in contact with the local authorities,” the U.K. Foreign Office told the U.K. Guardian.
The news of her unexpected death made waves online as commenters offered words of comfort to the Rhodes family.
“I’m one of the crew of the flight, I wish the best for you and your kids,” one, using the name Ken Chu, wrote on the fundraising post.
Multiple Facebook users spoke kind words about Rhodes as well, according to The Guardian.
“If anyone needed a helping hand Helen was always at the front of the queue,” one person wrote, The Guardian reported.
“I worked with Helen in the UK. So sad to hear this news,” another added.
The GoFundMe page in Rhodes’ name has raised approximately $41,024 as of Sept. 14. The donated funds will go toward funeral expenses and needed support for her family during this difficult time, the page states.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.