A British man thought to have drowned while on holiday in Sicily worked as an office manager at Rebro Hydraulics in Biddulph, Stoke-on-Trent.
The man, named locally as Andrew Sturgess, died after getting into difficulty in the sea at Tre Fontane beach in the village of Campobello di Mazara in the south-west of the Italian island.
His girlfriend was found a few yards away, according to local news reports.
A director from the company told ITV News Central: "Andrew Sturgess was an honest and dedicated man who had worked at the company for more than 10 years. He was like one of the family."
"We are all deeply shocked and saddened. Andrew had been looking forward to meeting his fiance's family in Italy for the first time. We have closed our office today as a mark of respect."
More top news
Any mist, fog and low cloud will clear to leave a mostly dry day, with sunny spells. Some scattered showers developing.
A chilly start with some mist and fog, clearing to a dry, bright day with sunny spells for most.
A Sandwell teenager has been jailed for life for killing a man and injuring another following a row over a stolen television.