TRIBUTES have been paid following the death of a 25-year-old primary teacher found dead days before he was due to take to the stage in a play about the Titanic.
Mark Hewitt’s body was found at a property in Edinburgh city centre on Friday in what police are describing as an “unexplained” death.
The teacher was due to appear at the King’s Theatre in the capital tonight (TUE) for the opening night of Titanic.
Mark, who worked at Sciennes Primary School, had the role of Third Officer Herbert Pitman, who survived the disaster after he was ordered to take charge of a lifeboat.
Since hearing of his sudden death, friends, family and performers from all over the world have left tributes for Mark – known by many as “Sparky”.
Mark’s cousin, Emma Burke-Hewitt, took to Facebook, writing: “ I wanted to share how proud I am to have grown up with Mark, my little cousin.
“Seeing how much of an impact he has had on so many lives is overwhelming and we thank you all for your kind thoughts.
“We still have so many questions which we hope will be answered soon. Congratulations Sparky on a life well lived, you should be proud of yourself as we are.”
In another emotional Facebook tribute, Matthew O’Hagan who was due to star alongside Mark tonight, said: “I didn’t know Mark for that long but with a smile like his you feel as if you should have done.
“As the show embarks into the dark side of the story of the Titanic, Mark and I save an infant child and carry her off to the lifeboats.
“Now this week I will have to do this alone, each time never forgetting the man that meant so much to me.
“I will never forget the time spent with you and all that you did for me.The vacant piece of stage beside me, that you once filled, seems all the more empty the closer we get to show time.”
Aitor Hernández Hernanz wrote: “It can’t be true. It can’t be real. Because it hurts so much.
“My dear Sparky Hewitt. Even though we had met in NYC, we became friends after that experience. We talked last month, and now i have to say ‘goodbye’?
“I don’t know how to do it, and i don’t know what happened; but Rest in Peace my Scottish friend. Love you, and miss you.”
Alison Noble, head teacher at Sciennes Primary School where Mark had been teaching primary five pupils, said: “Everyone in the Sciennes School community has been shocked and deeply saddened to hear about Mark’s sudden death.
“Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time. He was a very popular teacher and the children and staff will miss him dearly.”
Mark graduated from Edinburgh University in 2013 with a primary teaching degree.
Police Scotland confirmed this morning (TUE) they were still investigating the death.
A spokeswoman said: “Police in Edinburgh are investigating the death of a 25-year-old man after his body was discovered at an address in the Pleasance.
“The death is currently being treated as unexplained at this time.
“A report has now been sent to the Procurator Fiscal.”