Tributes have been paid to a British events manager in Dubai who died from complications resulting from coronavirus.
Nigel Beaton, a former managing director of the Gulf Crewing Company, died on Thursday, April 9 at a government hospital in the emirate.
He leaves behind a wife, Karen and two young daughters, three-year-old Fia and Isla, 6.
The rugby-loving Welshman, understood to have been in his early 50s, was described as a “larger than life” character, who will be missed by many.
Beaton was a stalwart of the UAE events industry and an experienced stage manager who had worked on concerts for some of the world’s biggest stars, including Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake and Kanye West.
Long-time friend Daz Jamieson, from Sussex in England, said his death brought home the severity of Covid-19.
“Nigel was a legend,” said Mr Jamieson, whose company HQ Worldwide Shows was one of the first to employ Nigel when he moved to Dubai more than 15 years ago.
“He immediately loved Dubai, and was out here a year later working full time.
“I remember it well as he had nowhere to stay and ended up sleeping on my balcony.
“The next day we secured another contract and he was employed immediately.”
On moving to Dubai, Beaton worked as a freelance stage manager setting up events across the UAE.
After several years managing concerts with scores of household names like Elton John, Coldplay and Metallica, he set-up the Gulf Crewing Company in 2008 providing event manpower.
“Nothing was a problem for Nigel, he would do anything for me or any of his friends,” said Mr Jamieson.
“He helped me when I was moving house and made sure I had everything I needed. He was an incredible man with a heart of gold.
“The only thing Nigel couldn’t do was whisper, we are all going to miss his bellowing voice.
“He could not talk quietly.
“Nigel did a job for us once and he was back stage thinking no-one could hear him.
“His Welsh baritone voice was echoing out across the front of stage where an important member of the royal family was giving a speech.
“Nigel was told to be quiet, but we had a great laugh about it afterwards.
“He was certainly larger than life, he was always there for me and we will all miss him dearly.”
Originally from Cardiff, Beaton was passionate about Welsh rugby.
Mr Jamison kept in constant contact while his friend was in hospital, but when Beaton stopped reading his messages he knew something was wrong.
“I knew he was in a bad way,” said Mr Jamieson, who lives in Dubai.
“I could see he was reading my messages, as I was trying to keep his spirits up.
“When he stopped reading them I feared the worst. I later found out he had sepsis and pneumonia.
“It had really got hold of him and he just ran out of fight. It was devastating.
“When something like this happens, it really hits home how serious this virus is.”
Friends around the world played a musical tribute by listening to Pink Floyd's The Great Gig in The Sky, a favourite of Beaton's, in unison on Monday evening.
Fellow Welsh national, Gail Thompson said he would be missed by many.
“Nigel was such a lovely man, very kind and a big rugby fan,” she said.
“He popped in to see me at the start of March to give me some rugby tickets for the Six Nations.
“I was shocked when his wife Karen told me what had happened just a few weeks a later.”