The British Ministry of Defense paid tribute Thursday to the soldier slashed to death in the middle of a London street by two Muslim terrorists, describing him as “popular and witty” and a “loving father.”

Authorities identified Drummer Lee Rigby, 25,of 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, as the victim of the savage attack. Rigby, from Manchester, England, had joined the army in 2006 and had been working in a recruiting post in London since 2011, while also assisting with duties at Regimental Headquarters in the Tower of London.

Described in the official Ministry of Defense statement as a loving father to his two-year-old son Jack, he was known as a dedicated and professional soldier, an excellent drummer, and a passionate fan of Manchester United soccer club

He had served in Afghanistan, Germany and Cyprus.

Rigby’s family also paid tribute to the man known as “Riggers” to his friends. In a short statement, they described him as “lovely” and someone who would do anything for anybody.

"All he wanted to do from when he was a little boy, was be in the Army,” the statement read. “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.

Testimonies from his military colleagues accompanied the Ministry’s statement. Captain Alan Williamson described him as “cheeky and humorous,” while Warrant Officer Class 1 Ned Miller said that Rigby would always stop to talk about how Manchester United would win the league, and could always be identified by his huge smile.

Meanwhile, at the scene of the attack, floral tributes from members of the public were left with notes of sympathy.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.