The last confirmed sighting of the MI6 officer found murdered in his London home was eight days before his body was discovered, police said last night.
Gareth Williams, a GCHQ codes expert on secondment to MI6, is last known to have been alive on Sunday 15 August in London.
His family released a statement paying tribute to him as "a generous, loving son, brother, and friend". It added: "His loss has devastated us and we would ask that anyone with information to come forward."
Earlier, William Hughes, a cousin, had said the family were deeply upset at "untruths" suggesting bondage equipment had been found in the dead man's flat and that he was linked to a male escort.