Marathon death

Shock, sadness at untimely demise of kind soul John Gibson

Gibson's friends and family remember him as someone always willing to help others

John Gibson's parents (above) have flown to Singapore, and the family is in shock at news of his death as he seemed to be in good physical condition and had passed a full-body check-up only months ago.
John Gibson's parents have flown to Singapore, and the family is in shock at news of his death as he seemed to be in good physical condition and had passed a full-body check-up only months ago.PHOTO: COURTESY OF THE GIBSON FAMILY
John Gibson's parents (above) have flown to Singapore, and the family is in shock at news of his death as he seemed to be in good physical condition and had passed a full-body check-up only months ago.
John Gibson's parents (above) have flown to Singapore, and the family is in shock at news of his death as he seemed to be in good physical condition and had passed a full-body check-up only months ago.PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO
John Gibson's parents (above) have flown to Singapore, and the family is in shock at news of his death as he seemed to be in good physical condition and had passed a full-body check-up only months ago.
John Gibson's parents (above) have flown to Singapore, and the family is in shock at news of his death as he seemed to be in good physical condition and had passed a full-body check-up only months ago.PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO

He may have been soft spoken by nature, but John Gibson's heart of gold will be a quality that family and friends will remember him fondly by.

The 29-year-old died after collapsing during the half-marathon of the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS) on Sunday morning. Gibson, who holds a British passport but was born in Hong Kong where he mostly lived, was about 1km away from the finish line.

College mate Gordon Tang said Gibson - or "Gibbo" as he was affectionately known - was active in university affairs while he was an undergraduate at the London School of Economics (LSE), where he earned first-class honours in mathematics and economics.

"Gibbo was probably one of the kindest souls I knew back in (university)," Tang told The Straits Times yesterday.

The duo lived in the same student hall during their freshman year, and both served in LSE's Association for British and Chinese University Students committee.

A FRIEND INDEED

He was always going out of his way to help friends... I definitely do have that impression of him even until today. Gibbo will be remembered very fondly by many of us.

GORDON TANG , Gibson's college mate at the London School of Economics.


WELL-SCHOOLED

John and his family have been great supporters of the Island School community, and John no doubt will be dearly missed by many of us.

HONG KONG'S ISLAND SCHOOL, where Gibson attended before leaving for college, in a Facebook post expressing its condolences.

 
 
 

Added Tang: "He was very soft spoken and just really kind.

"He was always going out of his way to help friends.

"I definitely do have that impression of him even until today. Gibbo will be remembered very fondly by many of us."

Gibson may have picked up a passion for endurance sports in recent years, completing two triathlons this year, but he was known as more of a ballroom dancing enthusiast back in school, even entering competitions.

He had worked as a chartered accountant at PricewaterhouseCoopers in London and was to have received the results of his dissertation for a masters degree in international relations and diplomacy at the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) yesterday.

His father Robert told The Straits Times yesterday: "He would be so happy to know that he got a distinction for this dissertation, leading to a distinction for the degree.

"He had worked very hard for this."

Gibson's parents were in Singapore yesterday, travelling from Hong Kong where they live, and were at the morgue. Gibson's father is a Briton while his mother is a Hong Konger.

There will be a memorial service in celebration of the late Gibson next Tuesday in Hong Kong.

His sudden death had come as a shock because he seemed to be "in excellent physical condition" and "went running regularly".

Said the late Gibson's godfather William Heller: "John was everything you could have wished for in a son - bright... sporty... considerate, charming, full of life and (a) sense of humour."

According to his sister Fredel, the runner had also completed a full-body check-up only months ago, when he was given a clean bill of health. Gibson has another brother.

The family had planned a "double celebration" to commemorate the completion of his master's studies and his birthday on Thursday.

Some took to social media yesterday to pay tribute to the late Gibson.

Shama Junejo, Gibson's classmate at the School of Oriental and African Studies, said on Twitter: "Deeply saddened and shocked on the sudden demise of my young friend..."

Island School in Hong Kong, where the late Gibson attended before leaving for college, also expressed condolences on Facebook:

"We are very saddened to learn of the tragic death of alumnus John Gibson during the (SCMS).

"The Association extends its deepest condolences to John's family, including Robert Gibson, Chair of the Island School Council.

"John and his family have been great supporters of the Island School community, and John no doubt will be dearly missed by many of us."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 06, 2016, with the headline 'Shock, sadness at sudden demise of a kind soul'. Print Edition | Subscribe