The family of a Kirkcaldy man who died from AIDS said he is “no longer in pain”.
Ross Scott, 25, passed away peacefully and surrounded by his family at Victoria Hospice in Kirkcaldy on Tuesday night.
His case had been highlighted in The Courier earlier the same day.
He had developed AIDS, having lived with the HIV virus for two years without knowing.
In most cases, treatment with antiretroviral drugs allows people with HIV to live long lives. However, Ross’s diagnosis was too late.
His cousin Julie Shand said: “Your hearts may be broken, like mine, but please remember Ross is no longer in pain.
“His pain was divided in that moment he died and shared between all that love him.
“Ross, I love you my little cousin, I am so proud of you. I shall forever remember you as my constantly singing, dancing and laughing little cousin.
“I’ll miss watching you talk and laugh and smile with my children.”
Julie launched an online crowdfunding page to raise money to cover Ross’s funeral. By Wednesday afternoon, more than £2,500 or the £3,000 target had been raised.
During his illness, Ross had raised awareness of HIV and the need for people to know if they had been infected.
As his health deteriorated in November, he wrote on Facebook: “Honestly don’t know how I’m a inspiration, all I’ve done is be myself and share my story. I don’t want anyone else going through what I’m going through.”
Highlighting Ross’s case, the chief executive of HIV Scotland said it was vital that anyone at risk of being infected with HIV gets tested.
Among those paying tribute to Ross was Claire Mackenzie, founder and co-chair of Perthshire Pride.
Ross had volunteered at the inaugural Perthshire Pride in 2018 and again last year, and organisers have confirmed that the stage at next year’s event will be named the Ross William Robertson Scott Stage in his memory.
Claire said: “We were absolutely devastated to hear that Ross was ill and that’s why we decided to name the stage after him.
“He was such a fantastic volunteer. He was always so happy and really keen to get involved.”
One of Ross’s closest friends, Stephanie Bell-Bailey, had driven from Suffolk to Scotland to visit Ross at the hospice and managed to spend some time with him just hours before he passed away.
In a message, Ross had told Stephanie he could not “let go” until he had seen her.
Stephanie said: “I had to say goodbye to him. Tell him that it’s okay to let go. Probably the hardest thing I will ever say to someone that I love.
“On the evening of January 14, Ross took his final breath. I’m very lucky to have been able to see him a mere 24 hours before this.
“Guys and girls, please please get yourself checked out if you have had unprotected sex with people, it can literally save your life.”