A Central Otago family is in shock after their 29-year-old son died unexpectedly in his sleep.
Michael Julian had been living in Earnscleugh, near Alexandra, with parents Dr Jill Stanley and John Julian since December while working remotely for his business, Novedo Marketing.
On July 13, Michael Julian had gone to bed with a fever, but it did not seem particularly bad . He died in his sleep that night.
While the cause of his death was yet to be determined, the family had been told he did not die from meningitis.
Stanley, a respected scientist for Plant and Food Research, said her son had packed more into his 29 years than most people did in a lifetime.
It was sadly fortunate that he spent his last few months with us at home.
She described her son as a someone who loved laughter, and who was determined and affectionate.
He would come and tickle my toes and fluff my hair, saying it was messy and he was fixing it, but afterwards it would look like a bird's nest.
From an early age, her son – a perfect little human being – had a determined nature.
He wouldn't give up once he decided to do something but would keep going until he had achieved it.
His determined nature bordered on stubbornness at times, but that gave him the drive to achieve his vision of running his own business later in life.
He was an ideas man , even as a child, and thought outside the box.
He was interested in knowing everything and had a thirst for knowledge.
When Julian was 14, the family moved from Nelson to Barcelona, where he attended international school Kensington High. He went from being a country boy to rubbing shoulders with the elite and achieving A grades.
There was even a princess of Spain attending [Kesington High], his brother, Paul Julian, said.
They would turn up in their Bentleys and Mercedes with their chauffeurs, and we turned up on the metro – a bit of a change but he took it all in his stride.
Although he was pretty useless at traditional sports , Michael Julian developed a talent for table tennis, his brother said.
He had a Chinese trainer when we lived in Nelson and he once had a stopover in China and trained for a week with a previous Olympic Gold champion. He played all over the world – including the national championships in Australia, New Zealand, UK, and Spain.
Julian went to university in Cardiff, Wales, where he attained an engineering degree with first class honours.
He was not only the captain and coach of the university team, but he was also on the Cardiff city table tennis board. The Athletic Union of the university presented him with club honours for table tennis, his brother said.
Table tennis was not his only hobby. He also loved swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving and music, and was a DJ in his spare time while he lived in the UK.
After university he worked for a business intelligence company in Sydney and as a marketing manager for various companies in Barcelona, but his dream had always been to start his own business.
While living back in Barcelona, he became the co-founder and chief executive of Novedo Marketing, which runs online marketing for other companies.
Colleague Filip Radziszewski described his boss as an inspiration .
He was caring and supporting. He never turned his back in face of a problem and he always tried to find best solution for everyone.
This loss is a huge disaster for everyone who knew him.