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
Four-time Olympic Champion Mo Farah will compete in his final track race in front of a British crowd in Birmingham this weekend.
Legendary entertainer Sir Bruce Forsyth has died at the age of 89. Here is a Midlands tribute to Brucie from ITV News Central.
Sunshine and showers today. Largely dry tomorrow.