The family of firefighter Anthony Knott have issued a heartfelt statement following news that his body had been discovered in Sussex.
In a post on Facebook, Anthony's sister-in-law Leonie Marsh Williams said: "It is with a heavy heart I am writing this on behalf of Lucy, Jared, Arrann, Anthony’s parents and myself.
"Today - 10th January 2020 at 09.41 a passer by found Anthony in the river Ouse by Denton Island in Newhaven, Sussex.
"As I am sure you can all understand we are utterly devastated and completely heartbroken.
"Anthony’s story has reached out and touched the hearts of thousands of people.
"We would like to thank everyone for your incredible support, shares, posters, volunteers and donations."
They thanked the people of Lewes for their support: "We will be forever grateful for your support & understanding during our searches. These three weeks have been so very hard for us all.
"We now want to take some time as a family to grieve and as I am sure everyone will understand, to respect our privacy for this time.
"Anthony, Ant, Tony, TK... you are going to be incredibly missed, we love you & know that we will always be there and take care of Lucy and your beautiful children. Until we meet again. Rest In Peace Ant xxx"
Anthony's body was tragically recovered from the River Ouse yesterday morning after a member of the public alerted them.
The 33-year-old, from Orpington in Kent went missing during a night out in Lewes on Friday, December 20. Specialist teams carried out extensive searches with support from volunteers and other emergency services.
Detective Inspector Mark Rosser said: “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Anthony at this difficult time.
“We too are saddened by this update and would ask the public and media to respect the families’ privacy at this time."
West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service paid tribute on Twitter: "We were really saddened to hear this news regarding missing London firefighter Anthony Knott today. Our thoughts are with his family and friends."