Lee Rigby, 25, served with the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, the British Defense Ministry said. He was born in the Manchester suburb of Crumpsall and had a 2-year-old son, Jack.
Rigby joined the army in 2006 and served with distinction in Afghanistan, Germany and Cyprus, according to his commanders. In 2011, Rigby took up a recruiting post in London, where he also assisted at the regimental headquarters in the Tower of London, the ministry said.
Fellow soldiers described Rigby as a larger-than-life personality who was liked and respected across the regiment.
“Drummer Rigby, or ‘Riggers’ as he was known within the platoon, was a cheeky and humorous man, always there with a joke to brighten the mood,” said Capt. Alan Williamson, who was his platoon commander from 2010 to 2011.
Warrant Officer Class 1 Ned Miller, the regimental sergeant major, said that Rigby “was easily identified whilst on parade by the huge smile on his face and how proud he was to be a member of the Drums.”
“He would always stop for a chat, just to tell me Manchester United would win the league again,” Miller said.
Rigby’s family issued a brief and poignant tribute.
“Lee was lovely,” the family said. “He would do anything for anybody, he always looked after his sisters and always protected them. He took a ‘big brother’ role with everyone.
“All he wanted to do from when he was a little boy, was be in the army,” the statement said. “He wanted to live life and enjoy himself. His family meant everything to him. He was a loving son, husband, father, brother and uncle, and a friend to many. We ask that our privacy be respected at this difficult time.”