Tributes have been paid following the death of an off-duty British soldier in Kenya.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirmed that Major Kevin McCool had died on November 29.
The Secretary of State for Defence, Grant Shapps, described the soldier’s death as a “tragic loss”.
Shapps said: “It’s clear from the tributes of those who knew him that Major McCool was an exceptional person and an exceptional soldier, loved and respected in equal measure, who served his country with distinction.
“My thoughts and sympathies are with his family, friends, and colleagues currently coming to terms with this most tragic loss.”
Major McCool was commissioned from Sandhurst in August 2014 and was deployed in Europe, the Middle East, the Falklands and Africa.
The soldier was described as a “big family man from a big loving family” and his commanding officer paid tribute to him as a man “of the utmost integrity”.
He said: “Kevin McCool was living his best life, doing a job he loved, with people he loved. A man of the utmost integrity, he was fearless and oozed moral courage.
“I will never forget my final memory of him, which was on operations; he had just come off the ground having slept a handful of hours in as many days.
“We discussed the possibility of having to deploy another team into the operational furnace from which he had just come. He stopped me mid-sentence, fixed me with his piercing blue eyes, and simply said, “send me”.
“A bright light has gone out amongst our ranks. He will be missed, but never forgotten.”
Major McCool’s officer commanding said: “Kevin McCool’s eyes shone with his spirit of adventure and with his focussed, determined nature.
“He was a pilgrim soul in the truest sense. Intelligent, pro-active and selfless, he was at his best and at his happiest whilst serving others and whilst facing challenges “in the arena”.
“As a soldier, his courage and talent were proven on operations. As a leader, he had a compelling character and easy charm that all who met him warmed to.
“And as a man, he had a deep humility which displayed a wisdom beyond his years. Spotting opportunities, restless to serve and to seek out challenges, pushing himself to the frontiers, helping others; that is how we will remember him. He was the best of us.”
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