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Slain London soldier was 'loving father' who served in Afghanistan

Ministry of Defence

Drummer Lee Rigby was identified Thursday as the soldier killed in London in a suspected terror attack on Wednesday.

The British soldier brutally killed in London in a suspected terror attack was a drummer in a military band who had served in Afghanistan, officials said on Thursday.

Lee Rigby, 25, known as “Riggers” to his friends, was killed in broad daylight on Wednesday as he walked in Woolwich, South London, near an army barracks.

Two suspects allegedly brutally murdered a young soldier in London Monday with large knives as terrified witnesses looked on. Top British security officials are calling the murder a terrorist attack. NBC's Michelle Kosinski reports.

In a statement, the U.K. Ministry of Defence said Rigby, who served with the 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, was “a loving father” to his two-year-old son Jack.

“An extremely popular and witty soldier, Drummer Rigby was a larger than life personality within the Corps of Drums and was well known, liked and respected across the Second Fusiliers,” the statement said.

“He will be sorely missed by all who knew him. The Regiment’s thoughts and prayers are with his family during this extremely difficult time,” it added. “Once a Fusilier, always a Fusilier.”

The statement said Rigby was born in Manchester, England and had joined the army in 2006.

It said he had been deployed on operation in Helmand province, Afghanistan, in April 2009, “where he served as a member of the Fire Support Group in Patrol Base Woqab.”

Rigby had previously helped guard the U.K.’s royal palaces. “He was an integral member of the Corps of Drums throughout the Battalion’s time on public duties, the highlight of which was being a part of the Household Division’s Beating the Retreat - a real honour for a line infantry Corps of Drums,” the statement said.

A mother who confronted a man suspected of killing a British soldier yesterday says she did so in an "act of instinct."

He had also served with his unit in Cyprus and Germany. In 2011, Rigby began a recruiting post in London and assisted with duties at the Tower of London.

The commanding officer of the Second Fusiliers, Lieutenant Colonel Jim Taylor, said Rigby was “a dedicated and professional soldier.”

“Larger than life, he was at the heart of our Corps of Drums. An experienced and talented side drummer and machine gunner, he was a true warrior and served with distinction in Afghanistan, Germany and Cyprus,” he said.

His platoon commander from 2010 to 2011, Captain Alan Williamson said “Riggers” was a “cheeky and humorous man, always there with a joke to brighten the mood.”