Social media celebrity among dead from Manchester concert blast

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — It was not just family and friends mourning Martyn Hett this week. Even Mariah Carey was shocked by his death in the Ariana Grande concert bombing.

Carey posted a picture of Hett — one of 22 people killed in Monday night’s bombing at the Manchester Arena — on Instagram wearing a T-shirt bearing her image.

“Devastated to learn that one of the victims in Manchester was part of the (hash)Lambily,” Carey wrote in the post, using the name she has given to her legion of fans. “RIP Martyn Hett. We will cherish your memory forever. His family and all the families affected are in my thoughts and prayers.”

It was a tribute that surely would have touched the 29-year-old public relations worker who listed the singer’s name as his religious view on Facebook and said on Twitter that, “My life peaked when I met Mariah Carey.”

Hett’s irreverent sense of humor was made for social media and he embraced many different platforms, with more than 12,000 Twitter followers and a half million views on a YouTube film he posted four years ago in which he spliced together scenes featuring one of the stars of iconic Manchester-based soap opera “Coronation Street.”

The video showed fleeting scenes of Sue Nicholls, the actress who plays character Audrey Roberts, and a habit she has of saying “Hmm” at the end of sentences.

Britain’s ITV network, which airs the long-running soap affectionately known as “Corrie,” said on its website that it would dedicate a bench on the set to victims of the bombing.

“The dedication will be planned in the coming weeks following an outpouring of affection for 29-year-old `Corrie’ super-fan Martyn and all those who lost their lives and have been injured following the Manchester Arena bombing,” ITV said.

Calling Hett a super-fan was no overstatement. He had a tattoo of one of the show’s best-known characters, Deirdre Barlow, inked onto his left calf in the British television show “Tattoo Fixers.” He also appeared on another show, “Come Dine With Me.”

Hett’s family could not be reached for comment Thursday, but in a statement released by Manchester police, they called him “the icon of all our lives.”

“His infectious laugh and his niche sense of humor will stay with us forever,” the family said.

Hett’s sense of humor rang out from the final tweet on his Twitter feed, apparently made during Monday night’s concert.

“When you sneak out for a toilet break on the Macy Gray song and the entire arena had the same idea (hash)DangerousWomanTour,” he tweeted.

The managing director of Rumpus PR, where Hett worked, paid tribute to him in a statement.

“Martyn loved life and I hope his lasting legacy is that people — in these dreadful times — choose to live their lives with joy not hate, just like he did,” Paul Evans said.

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