The body of Johannes Hoffman had been recovered from the island and was on its way to Cape Town, said department spokesman Zolile Nqayi.
Hoffman is believed to have choked on his own vomit.
“The SA Agulhas, which left Cape Town for Gough Island on 21 February, arrived on the island last Thursday and was expected to sail back to Cape Town by Friday, 28 February [weather permitting],” Nqayi said.
A chaplain with experience in trauma counselling had been sent to the island to help console Hoffman’s colleagues.
“After a short ceremony on the island, Mr Hoffman’s body was successfully removed from the base and transferred to the vessel with the required care,” Nqayi said.
“The chaplain conducted both individual and group counselling sessions with members of the Gough 58 over-wintering team.”
The SA Agulhas was expected back in Cape Town sometime later this week.