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Helen Gilby, her husband Simon and their two young children were going to visit Simon's family in the UK, but Simon died on the flight to their stopover in Dubai on March 18. A family spokesperson said the cause of death was still unknown.
A Givealittle has been set up to raise funds for the family, who live in Christchurch. About $3200 has been raised so far.
Gilby was blown away by the amount of love and support she had received already.
"Simon was my soulmate and he was an amazing, devoted, loving father to our young children. I am beyond grateful for the love and support we have been given."
The couple have two children - Chloe aged 4 and Angus aged 2.
Gilby's mum has flown to Dubai to help the family while they make arrangements. The family plan to continue to the UK for the funeral.
The family were shocked, devastated and grieving, a family friend wrote on Givealittle.
"They were excited and happy, but sadly, they didn't make it to the UK. On the way to their stopover in Dubai, Simon passed away.
"Helen and her whanau will need love, support and kindness over the weeks and months to come."
"Simon was a much-loved family man who was well respected by all who knew him."
An Emirates spokesperson said in a statement provided by the family that they confirmed a passenger was taken ill on board.
"On arrival in Dubai the flight was met by medical services who confirmed the passenger had sadly passed away. Emirates offers sincere condolences to the family and is providing them with support and assistance."