TWO friends of a man who died of a "short illness" have paid tribute and raised more than £1.5k to send him home.

Khanya Veliso, 21, was born in South Africa but lived with his close family in Tidworth.

The Burger King employee, who has been described as "a beautiful person inside and out", died on Monday, March 11, following a "short illness".

He left behind two siblings whom he "loved so much".

Dad Lucas Bonela told the Advertiser: "Khanya was a very happy boy who got along with everyone.

"He was a very respectful child and would do everything you asked of him with a smile on his face."

While his parents await the post mortem result to find out exactly what happened to their son, they have been trying to raise funds to repatriate Khanya to the Eastern Cape in South Africa.

Andover Advertiser: Chloe Harnan with Khanya Veliso.Chloe Harnan with Khanya Veliso. (Image: Aimee Pritchard)

Colleague Aimee Pritchard, 21, described Khanya as a "gentle" man who would "light up" any room he walked into.

She added: "He was energetic and always had something to say back to make everyone laugh.

“If you ever needed anything or if you were feeling down he’d cheer you up straight away.

"He was such a beautiful person inside and out. He had his whole life ahead of him."

The last time she saw Khanya was at the Kings Arms pub in Amesbury on Friday, March 8.

“He didn’t really speak of any illness or look ill in any way. We were all drinking at the pub. He was happy then. You would not have known anything was wrong," she said.

Following his death, Aimee Pritchard and Chloe Harnan set up a GoFundMe page after seeing how distraught Khanya's family were.

Andover Advertiser: Chloe Harnan, Aimee Pritchard and Khanya Veliso.Chloe Harnan, Aimee Pritchard and Khanya Veliso. (Image: Aimee Pritchard)

Hoping to raise a few hundred pounds to support the family, the pair were shocked to see the generosity shown after more than 100 donations flooded in.

"I’m still so grateful for everything people have done. We did not think we’d raise anything compared to what we have," Aimee said.

As of 4.30pm on Saturday, March 23, the GoFundMe page has raised £1,628 towards the £3,000 goal which would allow Khanya's family to repatriate him.

To view the GoFundMe click here