'Exceptional' British soldier, 32, dies while off-duty in Kenya

Major Kevin McCool, who served in Africa, the Middle East, the Falklands and Europe, died on November 29

A 32-year-old British soldier has died while off-duty in Kenya, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has confirmed.

Major Kevin McCool, who served in Africa, the Middle East, the Falklands and Europe, died on November 29.

He was from Northern Ireland.

MoD officials confirmed Maj McCool's next of kin have been informed, but they provided no further information on the details surrounding his death.

Commissioned from Sandhurst in August 2014, Maj McCool was described as an "exceptional soldier and person" by Defence Secretary Grant Shapps.

Maj McCool's commanding officer said the soldier was "living his best life, doing a job he loved, with people he loved" and that a "bright light has gone out amongst our ranks".

"A man of the utmost integrity, he was fearless and oozed moral courage," they added, saying "he will be missed, but never forgotten".

In a tribute, the MoD said as well as "a glittering operational record", Maj McCool "also aced many of the military's hardest courses".

"His fitness was legendary, once beating the whole Battalion on a two miler, as was his endurance. His enthusiasm was infectious," it added.

"He had a mischievous twinkle in his eye, that made him tremendous fun to be with. Yet his professionalism and sense of purpose was paramount, and clear to all those lucky enough to serve with him."

The soldier was described as a "big family man, from a big, loving family". He is survived by his mother and father, Joseph and Joan, his brothers, Fergal and Brendan, and his sisters, May, Alice and Margaret.

"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," said the defence secretary.

"My thoughts and sympathies are with his family, friends, and colleagues currently coming to terms with this most tragic loss."

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