Confusion and unanswered questions persist for the family and friends of a London, Ont. man who was found dead in a hotel room in Thailand earlier this week.
The family of 28-year-old Michael Talbot was informed Monday night local time that his body had been found in Thailand, according to childhood friend Adam Froats.
“It’s just confusion. He’s in another world right now. There are so many unanswered questions,” Froats told the Toronto Star in a telephone interview Thursday afternoon.
“The hardest part for his mother is he’s on his own. We still don’t 100 per cent know how and when he’s going to be home. And that to any mother I think is about the worst thing you can imagine.”
Talbot’s body was found at the Tropica Bungalow Resort on Phuket Island.
Capt. Yingyong Chuoykij told the Phuket News that a friend of Talbot’s had called for help at about 5:30 a.m. after he had chest pain and difficulty breathing.
Yingyong said there were “no signs of robbery or assault” and a doctor at Patong Hospital told the newspaper that doctors had yet to confirm a cause of death.
Yingyong said the Canadian embassy in Bangkok and the family have been notified of Talbot’s death.
Froats told the Star that Talbot had been teaching English as a second-language to children in China for the past few years and was in Thailand vacationing over Chinese New Year.
He had last visited his family and friends in Lucan, Ont., just north of London, this past Christmas.
Froats said he knew Talbot since elementary school. They played football and rugby together in high school, and they both attended Laurier University in Waterloo.
Talbot later transferred to the University of Western Ontario to finish his bachelor’s degree in social sciences, Froats said. He was also a groomsman in Froats’ wedding in August 2014.
“Charismatic is definitely a word that comes to mind. He was super outgoing. Everyone around him loved him,” Froats said. “And I think that’s pretty evident through what has been able to happen with the fundraiser.”
Froats launched a GoFundMe page on Wednesday in Talbot’s memory.
The page has raised over $29,000 via more than 360 individual donations by Thursday morning. The money is going to help the family bring his body back to Canada, a process that may take about two weeks, Froats said.
“The primary goal of everyone is just getting him home, as soon and as safely as possible,” he said.
A spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada told the Star in an email that the department was aware of a Canadian citizen who died in Phuket.
Canadian officials in Thailand are providing consular assistance, François Lasalle wrote. The department is unable to provide further information due to privacy regulations, he said.
“I know Mike will be missed by so many and I know there was a special person waiting for him when he got to heaven,” Mary Warren, a family friend, commented.
Condolences also poured in on his father Jerry’s Facebook page.
“No parent should ever have to experience that. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family,” wrote Beckie Livingstone. “He was a great guy. I worked with him for a bit at the Keg. I am so sorry for your loss,” said Ryan Beggs.
– With files from The Canadian Press