Two children were left traumatised after being forced to sit next to the body of their mother who suddenly died in her sleep during a flight for the remaining eight hours of the trip.
On Friday, Helen Rhodes, her husband Simon and their son and daughter were moving back home to the UK after living in Hong Kong for 15 years.
However, a few hours into the flight Helen was found unresponsive and despite all efforts, she was unable to be resuscitated.
This all unfolded in front of her two young children who for the remaining eight hours of the flight sat next to their mother who lay in her seat breathless.
According to a Gofundme page created to raise funds to help Simon and their children, the family are traumatised by the incident but it did allow them time to say what they needed to say to Helen.
"They are devastated. This loss is unimaginable. Helen was a devoted wife and mother. She was the glue that held her family together," organiser of the page Jayne Jeje wrote.
After landing in Germany, as protocol Helen's body stayed in Frankfurt and the family carried on to the UK without her.
Jeje said Helen was excited to move back to the UK to see her parents who she had not seen since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"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," Jeje wrote.
"Helen was one of a kind, a gem. She was a midwife by profession, and was always willing to lend a helping hand or advice to anyone who needed it.
"Helen loved to talk and made friends easily. She was the pulse of her community in Tung Chung, in Hong Kong."
Jeje said Helen was a part of a tight-knit diverse group called Tung Chung Mums where over 200 women would first look to her if they had a question concerning anything medical.
Helen always made herself available to help others, Jeje said.
"The grief we feel is paralyzing. Yet, we feel lucky to have known her."