Drummer Lee Rigby of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers was identified Friday by the Ministry of Defence as the victim in the horrific machete attack in the Woolwich neighborhood of London.
He is being remembered by friends and family for being a “loving father to his son Jack, aged 2 years,” the military statement added.
Mr. Rigby previously served in the Helmand province of Afghanistan.
He was described as an “an extremely popular and witty soldier,” the military said.
“Drummer Rigby was a larger than life personality within the Corps of Drums and was well known, liked and respected across the Second Fusiliers. He was a passionate and life-long Manchester United fan,” the military said.
Prior to serving in Afghanistan in 2009, Mr. Rigby served as a ceremonial guard outside royal palaces.
Since 2011, Mr. Rigby had served as a military recruiter in the London area.
“Riggers is what every battalion needs. He was one of the Battalion’s great characters always smiling and always ready to brighten the mood with his fellow Fusiliers,” colleague Ned Miller, a warrant officer with the unit, said in the military release.
“He would always stop for a chat just to tell me Manchester United would win the league again,” Miller added.
He was slaughtered Wednesday by two knife-wielding assailants in a city street just outside a military baracks.
Witnesses heard at least one of the attackers scream ‘Allahu Akbar,” meaning God is great in arabic, during the course of the attack, BBC reported.
The attackers were wounded by police and are in the hospital under guard.