The tiny community where aid worker Linda Norgrove grew up are in shock at the news of her death, the local MSP has said.
Alasdair Allan said people in the Western Isles were trying to come to terms with her death and were "deeply saddened".
Ms Norgrove grew up on the Scottish Herbridean island of Lewis.
Her mother, charity worker Lorna and father John, a civil engineer, managed a croft and kept cattle in Uig.
The family had moved to the island from Altnaharra in the central Scottish Highlands when Ms Norgrove was still a young child.
Mr Allan said locals felt great sympathy for Ms Norgrove's family.
He added: "Linda Norgrove played an enormous role in doing good for people in Afghanistan and other parts of the world where she was also working.
"People are just really struggling to take in the news that they have been given today."
'Thoughts and prayers'
Ms Norgrove left the Western Isles at the age of 17 to work for a trotting horse stable in Belgium before travelling around Spain and France as part of a gap year.
Her parents had always been keen on foreign travel and the family had travelled independently to third world countries for five weeks during the winter every second year when Ms Norgrove and her sister Sofie were younger.
Her former head teacher at the Nicolson Institute on Stornoway, Ewan Mackinnon, said: "This is not the news that the community wished to hear.
"We were all hoping for a better outcome. But it is perhaps not to be wondered at that this is how it ended, because not many of those who are taken hostage in Afghanistan manage to get their freedom.
"The community will rally round to offer whatever support and help the family wish, and also they are very much in our thoughts and prayers at this time."
After leaving school, Ms Norgrove studied at the University of Aberdeen and in Mexico, before receiving a first class honours degree in tropical environmental science.
She spent 22 months researching how national park management in Uganda affected the indigenous population before securing her Phd from Manchester University in 2002.
As a fluent Spanish speaker, Ms Norgrove became an environmental specialist at the World Wildlife Fund in Peru, before working for the UN in Afghanistan and Laos.
At Development Alternatives Inc (DAI) she worked with a team of Afghan professionals to strengthen local leadership and economies in vulnerable areas.
At the time of her kidnapping in September, she had been involved with agricultural projects in the east of the country.
Based in Jalalabad, she supervised reconstruction programmes funded by the US government.
She was abducted by insurgents as she travelled in a convoy of two vehicles in Kunar province.
The three Afghan nationals who were kidnapped along with Ms Norgrove were released last week.