Mr McNaughton, who played rugby for Scotland at under 18 level, was the son of Alan McNaugton, the president of the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers.
The family said in a statement: “Michael, along with his dad Alan, mum Lindsay and his sister Danielle moved to the Laurencekirk area from Muthill in 1996. He attended Fettercairn Primary School and Mearns Academy before completing his secondary education at Robert Gordon’s College in Aberdeen.
“Having graduated from Aberdeen University with a first class honours degree in Law, Michael took a year out to travel to Australia and New Zealand before returning to Scotland to complete an MSc in Oil and Gas Enterprise Management. He had recently started working as a Senior Marketing Analyst with Calash Limited of Aberdeen.”
The statement continued: “He was a keen and a talented rugby player, representing Scotland at under 18 level. He also played for Aberdeen Grammar in the premiership and had a short spell of playing in Brisbane, Australia. Michael loved the great outdoors and following country pursuits. Michael will be sorely missed by all of his family and friends.”
A spokeswoman for Tayside Police said: “Enquiries into the full set of circumstances of the incident are on-going and Tayside Police would appeal for anyone who may have information that could assist officers with their enquiries to contact Tayside Police. As with all sudden deaths, a report has been submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.”