A Royal Marine killed in southern Afghanistan had lost his mother weeks before he deployed on operations.
Lance Corporal Martin Gill, 22, of 42 Commando, was shot dead on a patrol in the Nahr-e-Saraj district of Helmand province on Sunday.
His company commander said the young marine became the "bedrock" for his younger brother and sister after their mother died a month before the start of his tour in Afghanistan.
L/Cpl Gill, from Nottingham, joined the Royal Marines in April 2008 and was stationed to guard Britain's nuclear deterrent before joining Kilo Company of 42 Commando, known as the Black Knights, last September.
The serviceman, known as "Fish" to his friends, was killed taking part in a patrol in the Adensee area of Nahr-e-Saraj to meet local Afghans and disrupt insurgents in preparation for future operations.
L/Cpl Gill was providing cover for a comrade operating a metal detector to look for hidden Taliban roadside bombs when he was fatally gunned down.
His brother John, sister Rebecca and girlfriend Lauren said he was proud to be a Royal Marine. "He was always up for a challenge and unfortunately died doing what he had always wanted to do," they said in a statement. "He was the life and soul of every party, beloved and cherished by everyone. Martin will be deeply loved and missed forever."
Lieutenant Colonel Ewen Murchison, commanding officer of 42 Commando Royal Marines, said L/Cpl Gill was a marine of "rare quality" and described his death as an "appalling tragedy". He said: "Despite his mum dying only weeks before the start of the tour, he was exceptionally keen to deploy. This was the mark of the man: passionate and dedicated to his profession and utterly loyal to his friends and fellow marines."
Major Jason Durup, officer commanding Kilo Company, added: "Tragically his mother died only a month before he deployed and he and his girlfriend Lauren became the bedrock for his two younger siblings. The thoughts of all the 'Black Knights' are with John and Rebecca for the loss of the brother that we shared with them."
Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox said: "I was greatly saddened to hear of the death of Lance Corporal Gill. He was a role model to his colleagues and could be relied upon by his seniors to be a highly professional and capable marine. My thoughts are with his family and friends at this tragic time."