Europa International has announced the sad passing of Steve Murphy, managing director of the furniture hire company.

In a statement, the company said: “We are devastated to announce that we lost Steve Murphy – aka ‘PapaSmurf’, and the head honcho here at Europa International – who passed away peacefully in his sleep at St Christopher’s Hospice in Sydenham, surrounded by his devoted wife Jayne, his son Stephen, and his two daughters Helen and Amanda.

“Put very simply we have lost a legend… his inner strength and ability to maintain his usual flamboyant nature despite his circumstances, makes him a truly remarkable guy. We were truly honored to have called him our director, boss, colleague, workmate or whatever else we knew him as, but most importantly he was our friend.

“Whilst deeply saddened by the loss anyone that knows Steve will know that he left us with very strict instructions to keep our chins up and our eyes firmly set on the future; upholding the sense of fun and the commitment to customer service that has become synonymous with our business, and having a jolly good time whilst we’re at it… and so that is exactly what we will do.

“We thank you all for your continued support during this difficult time – customers and suppliers alike.”