Tributes paid to ‘much loved’ astrophysicist shot dead in the US

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Dr Matthew Willson, 31, was found dead at 2am local time in Georgia on Sunday (Peter Byrne/PA) (PA Wire)
Dr Matthew Willson, 31, was found dead at 2am local time in Georgia on Sunday (Peter Byrne/PA) (PA Wire)

An astrophysicist who was shot dead in the United States was “much loved”, his former university has said.

Dr Matthew Willson, 31, was found dead at 2am local time after being shot in his bed in an apartment block in Clairmont Road, Buford Highway, Georgia the BBC reported.

The Surrey native was in Georgia with his girlfriend when the incident occurred.

Tributes have been paid to Mr Willson from his alma mater, the University of Exeter.

A spokesperson for the university said in a statement: “Matthew Willson was a former PhD student at the University of Exeter and much-loved member of our astrophysics team.

“We have been informed about his tragic death in the US and our hearts go out to his family, friends and colleagues. We are offering support to colleagues at the University who will also want to commemorate his life.”

Police had been called out to the area over reports of gunshots when they received another call that a person had been shot.

Sgt Jake Kissel, from Brookhaven Police, told BBC Radio Surrey that officers arrived at the scene to find Mr Willson’s girlfriend giving him first aid.

However, Mr Willson died at the scene.

The Foreign Office confirmed to the PA news agency that it was supporting the family of a British man following his death in the US.

“We are supporting the family of a British man following his death in the USA, and are in contact with US authorities,” a spokesperson for the Foreign Office said.

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