A TASMANIAN man and his partner who were killed in the Nairobi shopping centre terror attack were expecting their first child in just two weeks and had returned to the Kenyan capital for its medical facilities, according to a close friend.
Mourning friends have remembered the former University of Tasmania architect student Ross Langdon and his partner Elif Yavuz as a positive, energetic couple who were passionate about helping the communities in East Africa where they had forged a life together.
Mr Langdon, who grew up in the town of Nubeena, had worked as an architect on projects throughout East Africa, including in Kenya where he had designed an HIV-AIDS hospital pro-bono.
The University of Sydney graduate was so passionate about his work he had given a talk recently about architecture, which included information about his early life in Tasmania and how that had influenced his work.
His partner, Elif Yavuz, had completed a PhD in public health policy at Harvard University and was a specialist on malaria.
She worked for the Clinton Foundation in Kenya, and in that role had been visited last month by former US president Bill Clinton.
The young couple met and fell in love in Nairobi, and had returned to the bustling city as the due date of their first child approached, long-time friend Peter Adams said.
They were among at least 68 people killed in the attack on the Westgate shopping mall, where Kenyan troops are battling into the night in a bid to end a terrifying stand-off with Somali militants holding hostages.
Mr Adams said Mr Langdon and Ms Yavuz had dedicated their lives to working towards a peaceful world, and that had been cruelly snatched away by the terrorists.
``You talked to the two of them and you would feel hopeful,'' said Mr Adams, an artist and environmental writer from Tasmania who had known Mr Langdon for 20 years.
``They were so happy. You know when people are happy and in love. They symbolised to me what everybody would want in their life - a good relationship, good work, a good sense of confidence about who they are. They had all three.
``There just was no dark side to Ross that I ever saw in the 20 or so years I knew him.
``Ross was just this true angel of light, and again, that's where the pain comes from. He was so unique in the world, and to lose that spark of positiveness leaves me grief stricken.''
Mr Adams said he learned of Mr Langdon's death early yesterday morning from Mr Langdon's family in Tasmania.
``Ross would talk to anybody. I think Ross would have tried to talk to these guys,'' Mr Adams said.
Mr Langdon was a founding director of prize-winning architecture firm Regional Associates, which has offices in London and Melbourne.
The dual Australian-UK citizen had a base in London, but had spent most of the past four years in East Africa.
In 2010, Mr Langdon received the University of Sydney's Young Alumni Award in recognition of his pursuit of excellence in the field of architecture on projects located across Australia, Europe and Africa.
Mr Adams said during his work, Mr Langdon had designed an opera house in Denmark and designed and supervised an eco-village in Uganda using only local labour.
At the time of his death, he was about to start on a $35 million museum about the earliest fossil record of walking humanoids.
``For one so relatively young, the list of achievements is long,'' Mr Adams said.
``But he would always come back here [to Tasmania] and always wanted to visit.
``He was such a generous, energetic, positive human being. His partner was the same. You talked to the two of them and you would feel hopeful.
``I know every death is a tragic event for the families, I just think they symbolised so much.''
UPDATE: The Clinton Foundation has released a statement, expressing its condolences on the death of Elif Yavuz. ''Elif devoted her life to helping others, particularly people in developing countries suffering from malaria and HIV/AIDS,'' the statement said, releaed by President Clinton, Secretary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton.
''Elif was brilliant, dedicated, and deeply admired by her colleagues, who will miss her terribly."