The family of an Irishman who was missing for two months in Malaysia have hailed the person who found him as a hero.
Tourist Stephen Warde, 31, from Kinvara, Co Galway, was last seen on CCTV footage outside Mercu Summer Suites on Jalan Sultan Ismail in Kuala Lumpur on December 28 last.
This led to his family travelling to Malaysia in a desperate bid to find him and offering a reward of $5,000.
The e-commerce businessman had last made phone contact with his mother Mary Morrissey, 57, on New Year’s Day when he asked for €150 to be wired out to him.
Malaysian police issued a national appeal for information on the missing man.
In a post on the Help Find Stephen Warde - Malaysia Facebook page last night, which was set-up in the wake of Stephen going missing, his family said that he is “very unwell” and will be remaining in Kuala Lumpur for some time to come.
“Stephen was brought to the Irish Embassy in Kuala Lumpur by a man who found Stephen in a distressed state.
“We were delighted to hand over the reward of $5,000 to this man.
Were it not for this man’s thoughtfulness and compassion, it is likely Stephen would still be missing, or worse. You are a hero and we will be forever grateful to you.
In the post the family added: “Thankfully, Stephen was found alive in Kuala Lumpur last week. Unfortunately, he is not in good health.
"(He) is expected to remain in hospital in Malaysia for the foreseeable future as he is not fit to fly and he needs serious medical care.
“He faces a long road to recovery, but now that he has been reunited with us, we can support him during this difficult time.”
The Wardes went on to thank the public for their support over the past couple of months.
“The generosity of everyone in our community has been totally overwhelming and the total of funds raised from all of the fundraising efforts has significantly exceeded the target of €25,000.
“Therefore we want to donate all funds in excess of the €25,000 target (approx. €5,000+) to Kinvara Alive which is a group that promotes mental wellbeing in Stephen's hometown of Kinvara.
“We would like to again thank everyone who supported us over recent weeks.
"Words can’t describe how grateful we are to all of the people who donated, fundraised and assisted us in the search for Stephen. Thank you for helping us find Stephen. The Warde family.”
Today, an organised fundraising coffee morning still went ahead as a time to celebrate that Stephen was found.