Danny Darlington, 34, a Manchester native living in Berlin, was on vacation in Israel when he was murdered by Hamas terrorists in Kibbutz Nir Oz on October 7.
Darlington, a photographer, was killed alongside his friend, German citizen Carolin Bohl, who was also visiting the country.
His sister, Shelley Darlington, wrote on Instagram that she was shocked and horrified by the devastating news.
“I am living in a waking nightmare. I do not want to believe I will never see my sweet brother again. Never be able to hug him or hear his infectious laugh again,” she wrote. “He was gentle, and kind, and a pacifist at his core. He touched the lives of so many people and was loved by everyone he met. He did not deserve this.”
Shelley wrote that only days before he was murdered, Danny was “riding his bike, laughing, taking photos of sunsets and enjoying life’s pleasures in our beautiful kibbutz.” She noted that her brother had planned to head to Tel Aviv a night before the attack but had decided to spend one more night on the kibbutz, “a decision that has irrevocably changed all our lives forever, and one that cost him his life.”
Darlington posted dozens of Instagram stories from his two weeks in Israel before he was murdered, captioning one as he entered Nir Oz simply “I’m home.” Many of his snapshots and videos captured a calm and peaceful Nir Oz — and a happy and smiling Bohl — just days before it became the sight of horrors and atrocities following Hamas’s massacre.
On October 6 he posted one last photo, of him and Bohl grinning into their reflection in a safety traffic mirror.
Danny’s half-brother, Lior Peri, who lives in Tel Aviv, told BBC that he received a text message from him on Saturday morning, reading: “S**t, big balagan [chaos] in the kibbutz.”
“That’s the last I heard from him,” Lior said. “Now I’m trying to help the family in Manchester. They are really in the dark.”
Lior’s father, Chaim Peri, is among those believed to be held hostage in Gaza.
Lior told the iTV news outlet that “it’s difficult to explain to my daughters – they loved their Uncle Danny – the cool British guy who used to come to visit. How do you explain to them he is dead?”
Lior described his brother as a free spirit who loved traveling and exploring, but noted that he does not even feel that he can mourn his brother yet as he works to secure his father’s freedom from captivity.
Fellow photographer Rico Reinhold recalled Danny on Instagram as a “good person” and a good friend.
“Your heart was big, your hugs were tight, your friendship was precious and honest, you always made you feel that you were there, no matter what,” wrote Reinhold.
Suzy Seto, a model living in Germany, wrote on Instagram that Danny was uniquely talented at what he did.
“Danny, you were a talented photographer with a unique ability to capture the beauty of the world through your lens,” she wrote. “Through your work, you shared your perspective and allowed others to see the world in a new light.”