A 16-year-old boy has died after he was struck by a train.
Ryan French, from Rayleigh, was hit between Rayleigh and Hockley railway stations.
Paramedics attended but the former Sweyne Park School pupil was pronounced dead at the scene.
The family were too distraught to speak but in a statement issued through British Transport Police, they said: “The French family would like to thank everyone for the many messages of support following Ryan’s tragic death.
“As you can appreciate, this was devastating news for us and although the family is grateful for all the kind messages of sympathy, we would ask that we can be left to grieve in private at this very difficult and sad time.”
Andy Hodgkinson, his former headteacher, paid tribute to the popular, bubbly youngster and said the news of his death had shaken the school.
He said: “We are all deeply shocked and saddened to learn of this tragic news."
A BTP spokesman said: “The incident is being treated as non-suspicious and a file will be prepared for the coroner.”
Trains were stopped for an hour while investigations were carried out.
Leave your twitter tributes to Ryan by using #ryanfrench
SPECIAL REPORT AND TRIBUTES IN FRIDAY'S ECHO