British mother dies in her sleep with husband and two children

A mother of two who was traveling back to the UK to see her parents died in her sleep on a flight with her husband and two children, according to a grieving friend.

Helen Rhodes and her family were flying to the UK from Hong Kong on August 5 when she “died in her sleep,” friends said.

“We are still in disbelief and shocked at the sudden death of our dearest friend whose life touched many people in Hong Kong and the UK,” friend Jayne Jeje wrote in a GoFundMe post.

“Helen became unresponsive a few hours into the flight. Despite best efforts, Helen could not be revived.”

Jeje added: “It all unfolded in front of their children. For the remaining 8 hours of the flight, Helen lay in her seat in a breathless sleep.”

Her husband Simon and their young children Nathan and Emma are “devastated” by the “unimaginable” loss, Jeje wrote. The plane stopped in Germany, where Rhodes’ body was left in Frankfurt while her family made the rest of the journey without her.

The Rhodes family
Helen Rhodes was flying with her husband and two children when she died in her sleep.

“Although this was extremely traumatizing for the family, they all had time to tell her what they had to say,” she said.

The UK Foreign Office told the Guardian: “We are supporting the family of a British woman who died on a flight to Frankfurt and are in contact with local authorities.”

Rhodes lived in Hong Kong for 15 years, but she and her family planned to return to the UK to start a “new chapter,” Jeje noted. A midwife by profession, she was described by Jeje as “vibrant” of her local Hong Kong community and “unique”.

“Helen was excited and nervous about the move but looked forward to seeing her family back home as she had not seen her family or aging parents since the pandemic began,” Jeje wrote. “Unfortunately, she never saw them again.”

The fundraiser, which has raised more than $21,000 as of Monday, will be used for funeral expenses and additional support for her family. British mother dies in her sleep with husband and two children


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