The soldier who was hacked to death on a London street was remembered Thursday as a popular ceremonial drummer and machine-gunner, loving father and lifelong fan of the
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."