Messages from Colet Court/St Paul's School friends and teachers


Dear Bryant,

Over the last few days, I got to thinking about all the people who have passed away in recent years. From St Paul’s, you and Harry Parsons - so talented, such warm personalities, smart, funny, still inspiring. 

It got me thinking about the terrible injustices that life can present us with, and I trust that this belated message does not upset your kind parents if they are to read it. In all likelihood, they will not know me, but this message still stands in loving memory of a supremely gifted man.

I wish that I valued your kindness at school more.  As time goes on, I remember what an influence you were inside and outside of the classroom, especially first-year Chemistry. You were always a friend when people needed help. Equations for a dyscalculic luddite like me are very difficult, and you were always happy to help if I was really struggling, even when the rest of the class (god bless ‘em) were laughing. “Wunderkind” doesn’t do it justice.

I remember we had this early joke about some kind of homework (“And what is this homework that you speak of?"), and it still brings a quiet laughter to this day - it had a memetic quality that I still hold onto even now, as a fond memory of common-room friendship.

I remember your flawless Suzuki violin, and that incredible good-nature and modesty. 

To a man, the other guys at the school remember you being the nicest bloke you could ever meet - no hyperbole. I’m sure that so many have focused on your myriad exploits (tech-genius, music scholar, helping on the intranet e.g "hacking the mainframe 10101”), and there are so many to choose from. 
Your coding skills are the stuff of legend. 

I wish sometimes that the school wasn’t so cliquey, but I know you had a close, tight-knit group of friends, so many talented all-stars in their own right. 

Some of us pray, but all of us mourn. We will remember your wit, your ability, your immense kindness. We miss you.

My most heartfelt condolences, and best wishes to your family.

Thomas Rebuffa

21st September 2015




Dear Mr and Mrs Tan,

News of Bryant's tragic passing away fills me with great sadness. Words cannot describe Bryant's sensitivity, intelligence, talent and gentleness. He was a true role model throughout Colet Court, St Paul's and beyond.

I will treasure for the rest of my life lasting memories spent with him, from weekly Tuesday orchestral rehearsals and school walking trips in the summer. An inspiring friend and mentor who will always be remembered.

My deepest condolences.


Christopher Hirschman

29 Jan 2015




Dear Ee-meng and Chin Wee


We were devastated to read of Bryant's death in the latest Old Pauline magazine.  I cannot really put into the words how sad we feel but the news has cast a long shadow over Larry, Bertie and I.    We all felt that Bryant was someone special, that he would achieve greatness (probably with some amazing invention) and we had talked about how Bertie would feel proud in later years to be able to say he was at school with Bryant Tan. It is a tragic waste of a wonderful young man.


It is even more poignant to read of the manner of his death.  Larry and I did part of the walk up to Triglav a few years ago while on holiday in Slovenia and reached one of the mountain huts before turning back.  It had been very hot all day but it started raining hard as we left the hut and the route down, which was steep and rocky, became very slippery. Although it was August we saw very few people on the path. We can understand how even the fittest and most experienced walker could have an accident.


Your website is a terrific memorial to Bryant and it was such a good idea to create the opportunity for us all to see how many people have been inspired and touched by him.


We send you our sympathy and love and we will continue thinking of you.


Larry and Barbara Tysome

14 Nov 2014




Dear Mr and Mrs Tan,

I am desperately sorry to hear about Bryant’s death at the end of June.  I didn’t know him, as he left before I arrived at St Paul’s, but the teachers who did know him, and especially Allan Gardam his tutor, share the sense of despair and sadness, and have spoken with great passion and admiration about his time at the school. Here is one response:
‘Bryant had a voracious appetite for life and everything he did he wanted to do brilliantly – and almost invariably he did.  His academic record was stunning – certainly amongst the very best, but he was not defined by his studies alone.  He was an amazing violinist – a music scholar (in fact he was a double scholar as he also had an academic scholarship.) He was doing “good works” years before it became in vogue at St.Paul’s – notable for MINDS and Chiswick House Garden; Leader by example of a bewildering range of school societies; multiple prize winner; juggler; sceptic; ; rock climber, hill walker; really nice guy; genius.’

The memorial website is very moving, and a wonderful celebration of a very remarkable young man.  I can only to begin to imagine how difficult it is to cope with the sense of loss, but I hope you are able to gain some comfort from what he achieved, what he packed into his life, and his influence upon others…as the website and the memories and opinions of our own teachers affirm.

Best wishes,

Mark Bailey, High Master, St Paul’s

11 Sep 2014




Dear Mr and Mrs Tan,


I am devastated to hear the tragic news of Bryant's death. The number and variety of tributes on the website from all those who knew him absolutely encapsulate what an extraordinary person Bryant was, and still is, of course, in all of our hearts.


He was the kindest and most civilised of all Paulines that I encountered in my two decades at St Paul's, let alone his all-round exceptional talent.


My first real glimpse of the music in him was in his 13+ Music Scholarship audition in which I recall he played some extremely grown-up music by Lalo. It wasn't just the technical wizardry that impressed me but the depth of innate understanding which allowed Bryant, barely a teenager, to know how to 'join the dots' and move us. It was clear then that he would go on later in his school career to lead the Symphony Orchestra. This he did through sheer example - hardly a word said, everybody behind him in the ranks trying to emulate their extraordinary leader.


However, it is for his kindness and his human qualities that I really very strongly remember him. I always knew the gentle knocking noise at my door was Bryant by the gentleness. He had probably been knocking for several minutes, starting pianissimo but only audible by the time he had reached mezzo-piano. There he was, waiting to ask me politely if he could practise in one of the spare rooms in the Music School. Occasionally the request would be if he could miss the Monday orchestral rehearsal - the reason for absence would invariably be of a brain-busting Olympiad nature. 



A tribute to Bryant is always going to feel incomplete, as his wonderful life appears to us to have been. But I have just seen a golden syrup pot in my cupboard...which leads me to write the inevitable: Bryant is the perfectly valid alternative solution to the riddle posed to Samson in the Book of Judges and emblazoned on every treacle pot: "Out of the strong came forth sweetness". I will often remember Bryant, but now, every time I have golden syrup, I will think of him.


With my love,

Peter Gritton

28 August 2014




Dear Ee Meng and Chin Wee,


My apologies for not having written sooner, and my deepest condolences for your loss. It was such a shock to hear of the circumstances and my thoughts have been, and still are with you at this time. The comments and testimonials on this website are consistent in their praise of and sorrow for Bryant, and like Ben writing before me, it has been a case of reading the sentiments of all those here time and time again.


Bryant and I didn't move in the same academic circles so much, but our paths crossed in the music department, where he encapsulated the very definition of a talented and passionate musician. The expression of sheer joy on his face while he played would echo the notes pouring forth from his violin, and it was both a pleasure and privilege to watch him and work alongside him. He was always up for a jam, writing a tune, or even just horsing around on the keyboard - the memories I and I'm sure others have of his joviality backstage as well as his brilliance onstage are never to be forgotten. The stellar career that no doubt would have lain before him in music, should he have chosen that path, is one the world shall be deprived of, alongside the countless other phenomena within his reach.


I think it says a huge amount that while others were interning at banks or law firms, he was on the path to making rockets for NASA. My peers on this website are better acquainted with his academic prowess than myself, but one didn't need to be in the same class to be very aware of his sheer genius. Yet his modesty and kindness meant that jealousy was the last thing on everyone's mind - on the contrary, he made high grades something to aspire to rather than something grumble about or dismiss. I'm sure that all those who knew and worked beside him would agree.


He was a figure of inspiration to those around him, a pillar of the community, and a true friend. May he rest in peace.


George Parry

25 August 2014




Dear Mr and Mrs Tan

Bryant was an extraordinary young man. His science and music teachers knew him far better than I did and have already paid tribute to his talents and his personal qualities. I remember him from a French study trip to Montpellier where he was all of the things which they describe : modest, good company, clever but uncomplicated. He would have made the world a better place - in fact, when one reads what has been written about him here, it is clear that he already had. 

David Hempstead

19 August 2014




Dear Chin Wee and Ee Meng


I was shocked and deeply saddened to hear of your loss.


Bryant made a large contribution to music at St Paul’s during his time here.  Reading details of his other accomplishments on your website I marvel that in addition to these he made the time to play to such a very high standard and be involved in so many musical groups. 


I have very fond memories of Bryant coming to the office to ask for assistance.  Often I would not realise he had come in, he would wait quietly and when I looked up he would smile and quietly make his request.  Bryant’s smile was never far away and has been mentioned by others in their emails.  I am sure it brightened many lives and we will all remember it.


I have attached a photo taken during a workshop with the Gabrieli Consort and another taken at the Q Festival.  I spoke to Bryant after the Festival and know he had enjoyed performing in a large event with a professional orchestra.


My deepest and most sincere condolences.


Karenne Mills

Music School Manager

St. Paul's School

1 Aug 2014


                                         Gabrieli Consort


                                             Q Festival




Dear Ee Meng

We have just heard, from our son Will who was at St Paul’s with Bryant, about your tragic loss and I wanted to write and offer my very deepest sympathy.

Will and Bryant were not particular friends; different circles, different interests and different ambitions I suppose.  However, like everyone in the Year group he knew Bryant. 

Once, this would have been when they were in the 5th form I think, in the old studio theatre at St Pauls, I watched a boy work the sound and light decks for the performance and do his Latin homework at the same time – without ever missing a cue.  When I asked Will who it was he explained it was Bryant – super intelligent, probably the cleverest in the Year and a really a nice guy.  One to watch I thought – and he was!  But you would have already known that.

Later, when you and I met working together on second-hand uniform sales, I learnt just how talented Bryant was, how quietly proud of him you and your husband were and of the remarkable young man he was becoming.

You have lost your beautiful boy and this loss is beyond any words but I hope there can be some comfort in knowing that very many people are thinking of you, and of Bryant.


Kate Naameh

31 July 2014




Dear Mr and Mrs Tan,


It was actually my older brother Tom who was a close friend of Bryant's at St Paul's, but I'd known Bryant through my brother's birthday parties since I was 12.


I distinctly remember the day I uploaded my first musical composition I'd made for my GCSE music coursework onto facebook, and I was very nervous that no one would think it was any good or care enough to listen. Even though he wasn't a close friend of mine, Bryant was the first to like it and comment on particular aspects he'd enjoyed, and that was really encouraging given what an amazing musician I knew he was.


Even when Bryant was off doing incredible things at Stanford, he still took the time to answer physics questions I sent him, and instead of ignoring them, or asking why I was wasting his time, or acting awkward about his friend's little sister talking to him at all like many other people would have done, he replied with 'This is interesting' and proceeded to explain to me over several messages all about the friction that was at work in my experiment with patience, clarity and good humour.


Bryant was a gentleman and just a very lovely person to be around.


He won't be forgotten.


Best wishes,

Charlotte Burton

29 July 2014




Dear Ee Meng and Chin Wee,

I have only just heard the tragic news today and am incredibly saddened by your huge loss. I wish you strength in your sorrow to carry on.
Alex was in Colet and St Paul's with Bryant and although we did not know Bryant very well, I knew he was a truly special young man in so many ways, not least from all the tributes of old Paulines that are testament to his uniqueness.
There is nothing harder than the loss of a child, an only child at that, but you have been able to let Bryant live on in our hearts and minds.


Suling Mead

23 July 2014




I can only echo the sentiments of everyone who has posted such warm memories of Bryant. I did not know Bryant as well as I would have liked but we both went through St. Paul’s and Colet Court and I always had the utmost respect for him. Clearly bright from a young age, I did not realize how exceptional he was until later on when his achievements began to speak volumes because he was not the type of person who would have said it himself. He really was somebody who I thought I would be able to say I knew in high school because he would be off somewhere changing the course of humanity. A remarkably humble and kind person, the world has lost a truly unique and prodigious talent. I wish that I had gotten to know Bryant more, on a personal level, and judging by the kind words written by all on this page it is evident that those who knew him in good stead were unbelievably fond and proud of him. The level of respect and admiration I had for his obvious abilities and potential to do something great will remain. I have no doubt that he will serve as an inspiration to many.

Rest in Peace, Bryant.

My deepest condolences to you, Mr. and Mrs. Tan


Alex Mead

23 July 2014




Dear Ee Meng and Chin Wee,


I’m sorry it’s taken me a while to write this letter. Every time I’ve tried to start I’ve ended up just spending hours on this site, reading and re-reading people’s letters. At first my reactions were of personal loss; how he was a friend who was so entertaining and easy to get along with, how I regret not being able to visit him in Stanford when he offered, and will never again go cycling with him in Richmond Park. I also failed to comprehend the misfortune that would take away somebody who, while certainly being adventurous, was also the most careful and meticulous person I know. What then struck me was the bigger picture, how Bryant was really going to do things that would move the boundaries of human knowledge, but was taken so early that the wider world doesn’t know what it has lost.


Bryant had an ability to demonstrate such passion and understanding for his interests that even those with initially separate ones such as me were convinced to get involved and learn more. I think sometimes he enjoyed sharing knowledge even more than obtaining it, with examples such as when he rounded up a group of us to visit Bletchley Park with him within weeks of having already gone himself. Taking a page from his book, it’s now somewhere that I always try and take friends who are visiting the UK. Similarly he convinced me to go to the British International Motor show, and while there what struck me was how he wasn’t really interested in the cars that had the biggest engines or the largest price tag, but the ones that tested new concepts such as extreme fuel efficiency that might shape our future. It didn’t surprise me that he got so involved at Solar Car later at Stanford. It wasn’t just that he had the intelligence to change the world that people say he would have done so, it’s that he had the motivation to.


He had a quietly confident style of leading from the front that meant others couldn’t help but follow. I mean this literally on our Duke of Edinburgh expeditions where he always got us to the campsites on time in spite of all the active and passive resistance that I could throw, but also figuratively. He had a commitment to challenging ideas and his ‘if we’re starting waves we must be doing something right’ approach to the Sceptical Society is what carried us through when inviting scientists with unorthodox opinions brought on extra hurdles and obstacles. Similarly, he was the first person in our year to write a blog, sharing new concepts that he had learned and starting discussions, and probably the only person who could have pulled it off; the clear depth and complexity of his understanding of what he wrote about meant even the most cynical could only be impressed.


He undoubtedly would not only have achieved further great things himself but led teams of people to achieve more. But his leadership means that the talents and interests which he has already motivated in others will continue to grow the size of his accomplishments. Bryant inspired people to learn as much as they possibly can about whatever it is that interested them. His enthusiasm for things showed them that if they are ever bored, it is entirely their own fault. It is through the way that he led and taught others that I am confident that many of his contributions are not past tense, they are still to come.


My thoughts are with you at this time,


Benjamin Dory

22 July 2014




Dear Ee Meng and Chin Wee,

I was truly saddened to hear of Bryant’s passing away. He was an exceptional person and I am honoured to have known him and considered him a good friend.

Bryant and I took part in quite a few activities together at St Paul’s, including orchestra, sailing, walking trips, Sceptic Society and Duke of Edinburgh. His intellectual curiosity was remarkably deep and wide-ranging. Books, pieces of music, or even poetry that I may have mentioned briefly in conversation often sparked subsequent email exchanges: such was his thirst for knowledge.

It is a mathematical story that springs to mind at this time and encapsulates for me Bryant’s true kindness. The common room at school was frequently a place for “collaborating” on homework, and I was often tempted to ask for Bryant’s help. On one occasion, I had asked him about a particularly tricky (at least to me) bit of work, in the hope that he - the most brilliant student in the class - would let me “inspect" his own work. I was a little surprised when he was reluctant to do so, as I knew him to be kind-hearted. What I got instead was a far greater gift. Rather than simply feed me the answers, Bryant chose to sit down with me for the rest of our break to explain, from the very basics, how actually to do the maths.

I am sorry that Bryant couldn’t be around longer to share any more of his gifts, without which the world is surely a poorer place.


James Buckley

21 July 2014




Dear Mr. And Mrs. Tan,


I only learnt of your son's unfortunate passing today and have spent all evening trying to write something that was worthy of attributing his name to. 

I can't quite remember how I met Bryant, but I assume it was through a mutual friend at either SPS or SPGS, though I remember subsequent meetings and one thing stands out at each of them - his smile, so pure it was contagious. 

His true kindness (and patience which I am sure I tested though he never showed it) as he attempted to coach me through basic Statistics via text, his relaxed chuckle over coffee as I amused him with tales of my clumsiness or his tangible inspiration and drive to pursue any project he was then engaged in are just facets of the rarest gemstone I have ever had the fortune of being in the presence of. As undoubtedly the most gifted and hardworking boy I had ever met and suspect I will ever have the fortune to meet, he is the person I will always look up to and want to be like - not just because of his scholastic aptitude, but because he was truly a wonderful person. 

Just last month I found myself telling my university friends about him in response to a question about who amongst our peers would change the world, and one of my friends noted how I was smiling when I was attempting to convey how in awe I was of Bryant. This I can only attribute to his infectious warmth attached to my memories of him. 

My favourite memory of him is illustrative of the pure talent, hard work and humility of a boy I admired so much. One day after school I was at the Boys' School to meet some friends, and bumped into Bryant on his way to practise his violin. As a fellow violinist (though I declined to play in front of him as my abilities pale in comparison to his, as most people's do) I was no stranger to the instrument and his talents. I sat in the corner of a practise room and listened to him play to while away the time. Music tells a tale by evoking emotions and Bryant carried you through the music with him, telling the tale the composer dreamed that someone as brilliant as Bryant would be able to lift off the paper. I was simultaneously in awe of his technical ability and the ease with which he brought music to life. I sat listening to him practise for far longer than I had intended, having been engrossed in his music, and cursed openly when I realised the time. Bryant immediately apologised for taking up my time as if he had been at fault and though I tried to convey how much of a pleasure it had been to listen to him, he replied by saying how much more practise he needed and that he was looking forward to hearing me play one day and show him how it was really done. He said this with his characteristic smile on his face, showing how truthful his words were despite me only being Grade 6 at the time, which he knew. Whenever I played from then on, I always tried to reach the level I had seen him practise at that evening. 


Bryant, or 'Special B' as I used to tease him with, will forever remain the person who not only makes me aim higher in whatever I am doing, but reminds me that whatever you are working on at the time, being someone who makes others feel good is the type of person I want to be. 


My deepest condolences for your loss. Bryant was a person I am genuinely blessed to have known. 


Anmoli Sodha

July 20, 2014




I heard about Bryant's tragic accident while travelling with a St Paul's expedition to Myanmar. Strangely, I had been talking about him the previous day when we were chatting about Paulines whom we had taught and who we expected to do something very special with their lives. Bryant was such a pleasant, humble, caring and highly intelligent student in every single physics class that he had with me. His knowledge of the subject was remarkable - indeed the notes on lasers which he wrote after we had covered that topic were so much better than my own that I used them instead with subsequent classes, and added them to the physics intranet for the use of all the physics staff. My abiding memory of Bryant will be his gentle and tremendously civilised approach to life. I know that he will be sadly missed by all who knew him and I send my deepest sympathy to his parents. Bryant achieved more in his short life than most people who reach their three score years and ten.

Gordon Miller

18 July 2014




Bryant stayed with us on Thursday evening, the night before he left to catch his flight to Slovenia.  He arrived late and I didn't see him that evening.  On Friday morning, he came upstairs and we only had a few minutes to chat before I had to leave.

He was cheerful as usual, relaxed, enthusiastic and spoke modestly about his amazing forthcoming job at SpaceX.  I asked him about his graduation from Stanford; he was happy that his parents had been there.  He mentioned a few of his friends from St. Paul's and had nothing but the highest praise for their achievements (never mind his own). That was Bryant.  Unassuming, calm, kind, good, polite, fun, pleasant, self-effacing, gracious and easy to have around.  

He would stay sometimes when he passed through London on his way to or from Stanford.  Once he arrived with two huge suitcases (his packing for the year) - we set them them in a corner of the living room.  Any other house guest with such luggage would seem to take up space, but not Bryant.  Another time the house was crowded with people staying and Bryant was working on a project on his laptop.  He was completely flexible and found whatever corner of the house was free.  At one point I sat down beside him and said "Oh, Bryant, I'm sorry the house is so crowded". He immediately got up to move, thinking I was referring to him, when actually I was confiding in him! "No, Bryant, I didn't mean you!" I said.

That Friday morning of his flight, the interaction was the same.  I was rushing and told him to help himself to breakfast.  He was rustling around in the cupboards, and we laughed as I showed him where a few things were.  I asked him when he was coming back through London, and said to him that he knows he's welcome to stay whenever he wants to.  I gave him a big hug - I said I had to give him a hug for his graduation, and he smiled.  And then I left.  

Treasure the moments.  The loss of Bryant feels deeply unfair, for Bryant and for all those who knew him.  We struggle to understand how it can be and it is incomprehensible.  

Bryant's maturity and intent of purpose shone through in how he lived his life with honesty and truth to his own needs.  Ketan has told me more about Bryant and it is clear that Bryant would decide what he wanted to do or accomplish and pursue it with a conviction that many people never find in their lives.  Bryant was true to himself.  He was also fun, he regarded fun as important, he loved life.  Bryant, with his integrity, his intelligence and his intellect, was destined for great things.  At least that is what Ketan felt, and from my knowledge of Bryant, I agree with him.  

As we remember Bryant, and the way he lived his life, perhaps those of us who knew him can somehow carry a spark of him within ourselves.  The stark reality that life is unpredictable despite our best efforts to programme its path reminds us that we, too, should live our lives with integrity and truthfulness to our talents.

Bryant, we will not forget you. This is a loss so deep and all too soon.  Ee Meng and Chin Wee, we mourn with you.  You have my deepest condolences and all my sympathy.  

Anna Ahuja

15 July 2014




The aspect of Bryant’s character which comes to my mind straight away is his charming modesty. Then there’s his warmth, his humour and his lovely way with words. All this in a person whose extraordinary and multiple gifts made him stand out as one in a million – but it’s that delightful, lovable nature which we will remember first. What a huge loss. My heart, too, goes out to you, Mr and Mrs Tan.

Robin Wedderburn

14 July 2014




It seems hardly a moment ago that Bryant was a fourth year in my Latin class at Colet Court. It is easy to remember him, sitting at the back of the class, and enjoying the many eccentricities (including mine!) of that particularly entertaining group. Although Bryant followed his passion for Science, he was also a superb linguist, and could have gone on to study Classics (or anything else for that matter) to a very high level. What I remember of him most was his profound love of learning, and the deep respect that he had for teachers, which I think was imbued in him by his parents. He was also just a very modest, easy-going boy, who never pushed himself forward at the expense of others; as a result, he was held in deep respect by peers and adults alike. As he made his way through St Paul's, he would always give me a friendly smile and quick chat whenever we bumped into each other. 


It is perhaps too often said that someone is a 'shining light'; in Bryant's case, I believe that it is true. A good number of people are born with outrageous talent; however, to be able to carry such talent with modesty, dignity and a sense of responsibility is much rarer. Bryant gave us all an example of these timeless qualities, and I feel humbled to have known and taught him. 


James Renshaw

14 July 2014










13. 7. 2014




Dear Mr & Mrs Tan,


I was a peer of Bryant's at St Paul's and we spent the majority of both L8 and U8 attending the same Mechanics, Physics and Chemistry lessons. However, I knew Bryant best from the various walking holidays, especially the wintry excursions to the Lake District.


We got on well and were always very happy and ready to spend chat with one another, even if all our extra-curricular interests and friendship groups did not match up that well.


I found Bryant's intellect, academic ability and varied talents both impressive and formidable. Indeed I regard him as the foremost of all my peers at school and university, the one who displayed the most ability, determination and imagination, and the one I thought might make the most impact in the world. Yet for all his gifts, he seldom came across as arrogant but as humbly and rightfully confident in his own abilities. That became eminently clear on the walking holidays, which revealed the most about his character...


He was calm and friendly, always happy to chat or debate some topic with those younger or significantly older than himself. He enjoyed the many jokes cracked around a small table, playing cards and drinking beer, while the wind and rain rattled our cottage in the Lake District. And for all his curiosity with technology, he was content with simpler things too, whether it was juggling or walking along a mountain ridge, focussed on the task at hand but always, consciously or not, looking for the next challenge. I do distinctly remember one occasion on a walking trip (I cannot say which one) where a group of us were reciting (and heartily laughing at) Monty Python's Dead Parrot sketch. 


I am so very sorry for your loss. However, much like the Norwegian Blue in that sketch, Bryant was so brilliant and unique that, though he may be with us no more, he will always be remembered and bring a smile to those who met him


My sincerest condolences,


Rupert Cowan

12 July 2014




Our son, Max Hunter, whose friendship with Bryant was forged in the Colet Court classroom, but lasted and blossomed throughout their separate adolescence and young adulthood, has already posted a tribute.  As Max says, Bryant was simply the gold standard against which all of his circle of brilliantly-gifted contemporaries judged themselves, yet were found wanting.  His combination of precocious talent, focus and application defined a peer group example that was simply impossible for others to match. Unbeknown to him he lived, and will continue to live, as part of our family folklore.


Losing any child, let alone an only child, is an unbearable personal tragedy. But losing a young man with the raw ability to change the world, just as he was getting into his stride, is a disaster for mankind.


Bryant will never be forgotten and I thoughts are with you and all his close friends at this shocking time.


Marie-Josee and Duncan Hunter

11 July 2014




Dear Chin Wee and Ee Meng


We were very shocked and saddened to hear about Bryant and your terrible loss and we wanted to write to you. 


We did not know you or Bryant as close friends, however going through school side by side for all those years at Colet Court and St Pauls, meant that we couldn't help but realise that Bryant was so exceptional in so many different ways. The school produced a great many talented individuals, but I was always amazed at Bryant's remarkable gifts, achievements and unrelenting energy. The website that you have set up suitably reflects the unique young man that he was. 


Our deepest condolences to you


Kerry Sutaria and family

11 July 2014




Dear Mr and Mrs Tan,

I can only imagine what you must be going through at this terrible time. I was at Colet Court and St Paul's with Bryant. I've been fortunate to meet many intelligent people both at school and at Oxford, but if someone asked me for the ablest person I've ever encountered, Bryant's name would spring instantly to mind.

Though his ultimate passions may have been scientific, I was taught with him for humanities subjects too, and he was equally brilliant at those: there's no doubt (and this for me is what made him such a special talent) that he could have quite happily taken a top degree in Classics or Modern Languages instead of sciences if he'd so desired.

Bryant was a kind of intellectual gold standard against which others measured themselves. In our St Paul's scholarship exams at 13, probably the most intellectually demanding tests I sat until university, I seem to remember he achieved something like seven A*s (most of us were lucky to get one or two!), an impossibly amazing result which had certainly never been achieved before, and which I very much doubt has been matched since - something which has stuck in my mind as a testament to his unique brilliance.

This brilliance aside, Bryant was always fun to be around - I remember in particular sharing a flat with him on a French exchange to Montpellier in the fifth form, and his regular and enthusiastic attendance at Cookery Club meetings on Friday lunchtimes.

I regret that we did not really stay in touch after leaving school, but Bryant remained in my mind a paragon of raw ability and determination, and will remain so in future.

There aren't many 22-year-olds whose passing could be described,  without a hint of exaggeration, as a great loss to the world as well as to his friends and family. But that is exactly how so many people on this page have described Bryant's loss, and rightly so - he was a great guy and an astonishing talent, and it is a terrible tragedy that he did not have the opportunity to achieve all he was capable of in life.

My deepest condolences to you both, and to your whole family.

Anthony Collins

11 July 2014




Dear Ee Meng and Chin Wee Tan,

I was shocked and deeply saddened to hear of your loss. I had always considered Bryant a friend at St. Paul's, having shared a few classes with him and gone on school walking trips together. Like everyone at St Paul's, I considered Bryant as someone to look out for in the future, safe in the knowledge that one day he would achieve something truly spectacular and change the world for the better, such was his talent to excel at whatever he put his mind to. This is evident in the amazing achievements he had already accomplished throughout his life. Despite being the best at everything he did, he was still incredibly approachable and humble. He was a truly inspirational character.

I offer my deepest condolences to you for this great loss.

Hugo Matson

10 July 2014




I know that Bryant would not consider chemistry as his primary passion and yet he still ranks among the best of the young chemists that I have taught at St Paul's - testament to his all-round academic prowess.

It was a tremendous pleasure to have taught such a meticulous, astute and caring young man through his A-level chemistry. He was the first boy to ever produce some kind of tablet device and stylus in my lessons and begin scribbling notes down whilst everyone else was on pen and paper - only to then go away and later type these up in wonderfully annotated detail later in the day! I am indebted to him for sending me these notes: he had a version for myself as well as Dr Poots from his days in UC1 and I still retain these and make constant reference to them to ensure I'm doing things in the right order and the right way!!

A top chap in every respect and a tremendous loss to so many ....

Simon Clarke

9 July 2014




Dear Ee Meng and Chin Wee,


I'm so sorry to hear the awful news of Bryant's passing away. Bryant was such a wonderful and close friend of mine at Colet Court, and we kept our friendship going afterwards. I remember meeting him recently in London; we talked for hours about electrical engineering, climbing, windsurfing, music, and much more. Unlike many, who keep discussions of work to the workplace, Bryant's enthusiasm and passion for his field was evident; we talked at length about the exciting technological challenges he was going to face at his new job at SpaceX. He inspired me to take up projects and hobbies and think in new and different ways about ideas and concepts which I'd never considered before.


He was invariably the role model at home - all through high-school and university, "what would Bryant Tan do?" or "why can't you be more like Bryant Tan?" were oft-quoted phrases. I've never met a more well-rounded, humble, and yet fiercely intelligent and passionate person - he lived his life to the full and continually sought to better himself in everything he did.


He was an amazing inspiration to everyone he met, as evidenced not least by the wonderful and touching memories and tributes left for him here - I am in floods of tears, and your loss must be absolutely unthinkable.


I'll miss him so much - what a wonderful life cut so tragically short. The only mild consolation, perhaps, is that he's undoubtedly achieved so much more and changed so many lives for the better in two decades than most people have in a lifetime.



Max Hunter

9 July 2014




Dear Ee Meng and Chin Wee,

I was very, very sorry to hear the news about Bryant and would like to send you you both, together with this note, a big hug with all my solidarity for your loss.

Bryant was a most impressive young man and I can only say that it was very apparent through the years how much appreciation my son and all his friends had for him, not only because of his academic achievements and his musical talent but because he had a wonderful warmth and humanity that even I had the opportunity to experience. I myself feel honoured to have met him.

I last met Bryant at the end of 2012 at our house as Pedro and Maria organised a New Year's Eve party. I have two very clear memories of Bryant that night. The first one is him dancing and dancing in our kitchen. The second is that Pedro, Maria Antonieta and I came out to greet you as you came to pick Bryant up. Just after you left before getting back into the house, I very clearly remember the three of us having a conversation about what a fantastic person Bryant was.

I send you my very best regards,

Roberto Vila
July 9th, 2014




Dear Mr and Mrs Tan,


Having shared all of my school years at Colet Court and St. Paul's with Bryant, I am deeply saddened by this terrible news, and can only imagine what you are all going through at this tragic time.


My school life overlapped with Bryant's throughout our school years, whether that was through being in the same class, or through the many hours spent playing music for the school orchestra and other groups. I always admired Bryant for the ways in which he always strove for excellence in everything he set his mind to. I have distinct memories of our final years of Colet Court, when Bryant would consistently produce work of standards higher than most of us (or our teachers for that matter) could even dream of. However, what amazed me more was the way in which he still managed to remain so gracious and modest, a truly laudable character trait of someone so young. Although our academic lives were more separate upon joining St. Paul's, it was clear from classmates that throughout Bryant remained a humble and approachable character whilst still fiercely committed to his work. I can say that it was no surprise to me that he continued in the same vein at Stanford and in the early stages of his career.


I was fortunate to have played music with Bryant many a time throughout school, and to this day I remain in complete awe of his talents on the violin. My final memory of Bryant was during the final concert we both performed in at St. Paul's. Just as he had done so on numerous occasions before, he lead the orchestra with utter professionalism and expertise. I feel truly honoured to have shared a stage with someone so brilliantly proficient.


I know that at such a difficult time, words can only do so much, but I hope that it is a comfort knowing that Bryant was, and remains, so well admired and respected by his peers for his achievements.


My thoughts remain with you,


Fergus Fraser Hafter

9 July 2014




Dear Chin Wee and Ee Meng


We wanted to write to express our condolences at the sad loss of Bryant. He was an excellent friend to our son Thomas throughout their time at St. Paul’s School and beyond, and someone Tom was very keen to keep up with even after Bryant moved to the United States.


Our memory of Bryant is one of a highly intelligent boy who was a true polymath – outstanding at everything he did from music to sport to academic studies, and yet at the same time unassuming, good humoured, smiling and good-natured. He was unfailingly enthusiastic and lived life to the full.


It is clear that he had already achieved a great deal during his time at Stanford and was set to make a real contribution to the World, and he will be a great loss to the whole community as well as to his family and friends.


Our thoughts and best wishes are with you both at this sad time.




William, Helen, Thomas and Charlotte Burton

9 July 2014




Dear Mr and Mrs Tan,

Bryant was a genius of the highest calibre, not only in terms of his intellect, achievements and many skills but also in terms of his personality and the way he interacted with others - he was always humble, patient and kind. And whilst he and I were not particularly close friends at school, he'd always happily humour me and talk me through any scientific questions I might occasionally throw at him (however moronic they were!).

Such was the impression that Bryant left on me that, despite not seeing him since school, I actually revelled in telling new friends at university and work what an exceptional person he was - certainly one of the best and brightest of our cohort at St Paul's and so well rounded (and modest) to boot.

I am proud to have known him and the world is a much poorer place without him.

I am so sorry for your loss.

Kind regards,

Ben Quarry

9 July 2014




Dear Mr and Mrs Tan,


I am so very sorry for your loss. 


I  studied with Bryant at St Paul's, we got along very well, as anyone who spent time with Bryant did, and I visited him for an afternoon in Stanford last September.


Needless to say I was imposed by his academic achievements (I didn't know GPA went above 4) but what shocked me were the muscles on him. He had attacked fitness with the same fever as all the problems we shared in mechanics. I wanted to share that with the Paulines who didn't get to see Bryant recently, as this side to him wasn't obvious at school.


He had clearly taken to the Californian life well, and after showing me his room (complete with oscilloscope and weights) and buying me a slice of pizza we wished each other well and parted ways as he went climbing.


We will miss following his accomplishments, but even more we'll miss his kindness and modesty.


Best wishes,


Cameron Mckelvie

9 July 2014




Dear Family and Friends,


I am an acquaintance of Bryant's from St Paul's School. 


Although Bryant and I would have never have considered one another great friends, we shared various classes throughout the 4th and 5th form of the school. 


It wasn't that we disliked one another, merely that our immediate interests and focusses lay apart. 


Having said that, I always admired Bryant. New to the school aged 13, we were both thrust into class peer groups randomly. Although Bryant belonged in a class group that would stimulate him and challenge him further than what he was exposed to early on, we both advanced through the first  year in our Science and Maths classes; myself in awe, Bryant in complete control - the school made a point of giving everyone an even "playing field" early on. 


I am so grateful for this. It allowed me to tap into the inner workings of a genius. I accept that words such as "genius" and "legend" are bandied about often far too lightly, but please believe me when I say, your Bryant was, and is, a genius. He loved to impart knowledge, whether it be in class or more socially, but he had a great knack of avoiding to make people feel uncomfortable. 


A true gentlemen; a bright spark; a positive character.


I hope you are able to find a degree of comfort in knowing how great a young man Bryant was.


My thoughts are with you.


All the best,


Greg Barr-Smith

9 July 2014




Only a few weeks ago Stanford wrote to me asking if, as one of his teachers at ‘High School’, I would send them an anecdote of Bryant’s time at school.  This was to be read out at his Terman Prize presentation ceremony to illustrate his qualities.  I was initially dismayed because I couldn’t think of any one story that would do. Then I realised that that was exactly the point about this uniquely splendid man. Every moment of his life formed a continuous catalogue of excellence; of character, achievements (large, small and immensely varied) and fun.  And everything was given, carelessly, to everyone he encountered.  He just did everything beautifully and right, until that last awful moment on the path - surely the cruellest irony imaginable.


He lifted every one of us, but I agree absolutely with Richard Barker; one of the saddest things about this dreadful tragedy is that Bryant did not have time to make the world a bit better, something he was so certainly set to do.


Peter Sammut

8th July 2014




It’s hard to put into words how unbelievable a person Bryant was. So amazingly smart and gifted, yet so admirably modest about it. I genuinely believe that not only have his family and friends lost a dear son and friend, but the world has also lost an incredible talent. I always said that if one person would change the world, it would be him, and I say that with all honesty. I can only dream of achieving a fraction of what Bryant was capable of achieving. What a pleasure it was to have met such a friendly, thoughtful and intelligent guy. RIP Bryant


Paul Bröker

8 July 2014




Dear Mr and Mrs Tan,

I'm deeply sorry for your loss.

I was at St Paul's with Bryant,  and while I can't say I knew him that well,  I can share a story which shows what kind of person he was regardless of how well we knew each other.

One evening I was suffering from major computer problems. I posted on social media how frustrated I was,  and Bryant - who I barely talked to,  but was friendly with- immediately spent over four hours helping me through the issue,  using his whole evening to ultimately solve the problem. This is of course a testament to his formidable IT skills,  but also shows he was patient and caring enough to help out anyone he knew.

I always admired Bryant as clearly one of the most gifted people in the school and someone who had incredible potential. This loss is nothing short of tragic.


Alex F

8 July 2014




I was so fortunate to have overlapped with Bryant in many spheres of his time at St Paul's - but still only a small fraction of everything he did.

He was in my physics class one year - though I cannot claim to have taught him physics as he had taught himself so much. Yet his humility meant he never stopped seeking answers.

He came with me on numerous trips - hiking, camping and climbing...sports he has always enjoyed and through which he made many friends. As ever, he was a great companion to all.

He came with me to America, to Kennedy Space Centre - his first visit to the USA since being born there - as part of a 100-strong party. Ever helpful, ever interested.

One thing I think I did mange to teach him - and maybe even remained better at than him - was juggling. For once, years of experience paid off over youthful enthusiasm and pure skill.


Deeply missed, so clearly remembered.


Ken Zetie - St Paul's School

8 July 2014




Dear Mr and Mrs Tan,

I was shocked and saddened to hear of Bryant's passing, having had the privilege of knowing him since I was 11. In the common room he was always lively and a source of interesting conversation; I've not known anyone before or since who was able to display as impressive a range of skills as Bryant whilst remaining humble and approachable. In our lower eigth year I remember we walked into the centre of Cambridge, to see a lecture series at Corpus Christi and get a taste of the university. When Bryant decided to go to Stanford, I know that I, and others who were planning on studying at Cambridge, felt disappointed that we would not have the benefit of his insight and his friendship during our time there. The world has lost someone who would have made it a better place.

I hope that there is some solace to be found in the fact that Bryant was a friend and an inspiration to so many. He was a truly extraordinary person, whose amicable nature and incredible mind made everyone around him aspire to be more like him.

My deepest condolences,
Andrew Simmons

8 July 2014




Dear Mr and Mrs Tan,

I pretty much shared my entire school career with Bryant, having started in the lower-first of Colet Court with him. I even remember back then, at the age of 7, as part of a history lesson we acted out a mock Anglo-Saxon trial and Bryant was picked to be the plaintiff. Although the defendant was eventually acquitted of punching him in the nose (actually a red marker pen dot on the nose) Bryant fought his case valiantly, dramatically and with conviction to the end. Then, in our last year of school together, I remember Bryant designing and creating a brand new computer programme to make our daily lunchtime games of hearts in the Upper 8th common-room more fun, challenging and tense by adding in an imaginary-number axis to our scoring chart (sounds crazy, but it worked out brilliantly!). I could list many more memories like these that helped fill the lives of all those around him with joy.


It is truly inspiring and humbling that a man who launched a satellite into space at 18, designed and built a solar-powered race-car at 19, worked for Facebook at 20, was offered a job as a literal rocket scientist with SpaceX at 21, while still playing symphony orchestra-standard violin, could be so down-to-earth, modest and fun to be around. I don't think I'm alone in hoping to one day be even half as talented in one thing as Bryant was at pretty much everything.


You and your entire family have my most sincere condolences and I wish you all the very best at this most tragic time.


Theo Estrin

8 July 2014




Dear Mr and Mrs Tan,

Attached are a couple of photos I took during the St. Paul's hillwalking trip to Scotland in July 2007. In the first, a cloud was rolling in and in my haste to photograph its edge I fortuitously captured Bryant as well. In the second, Bryant is proudly sitting in a cairn at the top of a mountain, although I can't remember which one.

I seem to remember that we all had an excellent time on that trip, including Bryant.

Pedro Vila de Mucha

7 July 2014





Dear Mr and Mrs Tan

I was at St Paul's with Bryant during my final 2 years of school. Although I was not fortunate enough to know him for as long as some of the other Paulines, I consider myself priveledged to have been friends with someone so singularly unique. In my entire life I had never known anyone with such a potent blend of talent, work ethic, kindness and humility. 

My most vivid memory of Bryant was - strangely enough not one of him in the classroom or of him caressing a melody out of a violin, but truth be told it was of him practicing his juggling in the 8th form common room. He was trying to perform a challenging new trick he'd created and had been having some trouble with it. However he kept going on and on until it was perfect. In the entire time that I knew him I never once knew him to compromise his commitment to perfection and to achieve it through perseverence and dedication in even leisurely pursuits. After he saw me gawping away at him he asked whether I would like to learn how to do the trick. He was always one of the most sensitive and considerate people I ever met, always quick to welcome and include others in his pursuits and despite my faltering attempts, his patience and good teaching won out. But sitting there laughing and enjoying each other's company will always be one of my most treasured memories of someone who has given myself and so many others many special and wonderful times.

He was an exceptional man, and his loss is a tragedy beyond description. Bryant never faltered in the face of a challenge. He welcomed them and took them on with his quiet determination and drive every day that he lived. His loss is something that i hope his memory will help me overcome. He was, and always shall be, an inspiration to us all.

My deepest and most sincere condolences,

Ishan R Islam - Old Pauline

7 July 2014




What an accurate phrase, "a much loved fine young man who shall always remain in our hearts".  Bryant was the best type of Pauline, able interested and committed, to work, activities outside work, and his friends.  I obviously remember his Computing skills, where he needed no help from me and achieved at the highest level.  Others will remember other areas of his life, and they are astonishingly many.  

One time particularly stood out for me.  He was invited (as a schoolboy developer) to a Firefly meeting, held for schools interested in improving the software package.  He sat and listened politely and intensely, taking it all in, and I could see he was interested both in helping end-users get the best from the package and understanding how businesses benefit by listening to their clients.  And listening was the right thing for him at that time, and it is such a shame that he had virtually no time to take a lead in developing new ideas that would benefit people.


Such a  sad loss for all who knew him, and the world has lost a man who would have made it better.


Richard Barker        7 July 2014




Dear Mr and Mrs Tan,

I was a friend of Bryant’s at St Paul’s and wanted to write to you with my deepest condolences.

Bryant was exceptional at everything to which he put his hand (which seemed to be almost everything), from his work to his physical activities and musical talents. He was one of the most impressive people I have ever had the fortune to know and his loss is a loss to us all.

He will be sorely missed.


Yours sincerely,

Tom Burton

7 July 2014




I was deeply saddened to hear the terrible news of my friend Bryant's passing, having been fortunate enough to know him from school since the age of 11. Despite spending 3 years at the University of Cambridge and a further one at Imperial College London, I can honestly say that I have never met the equal of Bryant Tan, who, despite an intellectual ability that defied belief, along with achievements in numerous other fields, carried himself with an exemplary humility. He was excellence personified, and it is an utter injustice that he was taken so young. He will be deeply missed by all who knew him.


In Bryant's final year at St. Paul's, I remember that he returned from his interview at Cambridge University convinced that it had gone badly - because he had found the questions so easy that he assumed that they had simply been humouring him following an early mistake. A truly unique concern for a truly unique person.


Pedro Vila de Mucha

7 July 2014




I am devastated by this news. I taught Bryant at St Paul’s and he was also a regular at the summer camps in the Lake District, Scotland and North Wales, as well, I think, on the Winter Walking Trip to the Lakes. In class he showed extraordinary intellectual curiosity and was never satisfied with any explanation which did not meet his exacting standards of rigour. I was also fortunate to attend school concerts where he led the orchestra. But besides all of this he was such a pleasant, friendly, mature and rewarding friend. I knew when he took the scholarship to Stanford that he was going to perform there with his usual brilliance and indeed I see that he achieved a Masters degree at the same time as the undergraduate equivalent. They must have sought him out in California and have been well rewarded with their prescience in offering him the place. I am sure he would have gone on to distinguish himself in many ways.


What a tragic end to such a marvellous and inspiring life. It is, I suppose, slightly ironic that he died accidentally having pushed himself to the limit in the Slovenian Alps, but that is what he always did, and how unlucky he was that things went wrong on the descent having achieved his goal.


With fond memories and great sadness,

Gerry Leversha

7 July 2014




Dear Ee Meng and Chin Wee,

Your tributes were beautiful.

I’d like to share this memory of Bryant.

In the summer of 2011, I participated in an exchange program with Stanford. Bryant really wanted to show me what Stanford was like to a ‘local’. We used to go climbing together, and Bryant suggested that we try to climb to the top of some of Stanford’s buildings. Apparently there were a number of well-known routes, which provide an easy climb to resting places at the top of some of Stanford’s older buildings. Bryant showed me one way of climbing up the back of the Memorial Church, to a stone landing at the top. I was quite uncertain, as I had not climbed in a while, but Bryant helped me through it, and we made it to the top. We enjoyed a good view of the campus, and then lay down on the roof. There were an incredible number of stars in the night sky, and we lay on the roof for hours, chatting and looking at the sky. Eventually we got tired and stiff, and climbed down to go to bed. I was so grateful Bryant shared this experience with me. It was one of the most memorable parts of my trip.



Ketan Ahuja

7 July 2014