Garrett Elsey of Sherwood Park, Alta., had only been in the U.K. a few hours when police in Bristol found his body at a recycling facility in nearby Avonmouth on Thursday morning, according to his uncle, Brent Elsey.
Elsey was "very excited about where he was going to go," his uncle said. "The whole world was spread out before him, and he was about to start out on some great adventures."
Elsey had recently completed a bachelor's degree in history and political science from Ottawa's Carleton University.
His uncle said Elsey was to begin a master's degree in international security in Bristol.
“He approached life full bore… he approached it with so much energy.”
Brent Elsey says police in the U.K. contacted the RCMP, who contacted the family.
He says Elsey's parents have been flooded with messages from friends, relaying their favourite memories.
"The initial complete shock has worn a little off... it's now a mixture of tears and smiles," he said.
"It's been very moving to them, to hear the impact he has had on other people."
A BBC report says police are still working to establish the circumstances surrounding the death, and that officers searched stops where trucks collected bins for the facility.
Police have searched up to eight different locations in Bristol in connection with the discovery of the body, but had later narrowed it down to one location.
Brent Elsey says a memorial will be held for his nephew in Edmonton next week. He will then be buried in Ottawa.