The family of a British soldier killed in a grenade blast in Afghanistan earlier this week says his death has "left an irreplaceable hole in our hearts".
Lance Corporal James Ashworth, of the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, was on patrol in the north of Nahr-e-Saraj district in Helmand Province when he was caught in the blast from an enemy grenade on Wednesday.
The 23-year-old, from Kettering, Northamptonshire, died despite receiving immediate medical treatment.
Mr Ashworth's family said: "We are devastated by the loss of our son, brother, uncle and boyfriend.
"He meant the world to everyone and has left an irreplaceable hole in our hearts.
"We ask that we are given time to grieve and we sincerely thank everyone for their condolences."
Lance Corporal Ashworth lived with his mother Kerryann and his girlfriend Emily in Kettering, and also leaves sisters Lauren and Paige, brother Karl and four-year-old niece Darcy.
Captain Mike Dobbin, Commander of Reconnaissance Platoon, Nijmegen Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, said Lance Cpl Ashworth was killed trying to protect his colleagues.
He said the platoon had lost a "strong commander, outstanding soldier and dear friend".
Lance Corporal Ashworth joined the Army at the age of 17 and completed a stint of ceremonial duty in London after joining Nijmegen Company Grenadier Guards.
He spent three years with the Guards' Parachute Platoon, part of 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, deploying to Afghanistan with them.
He returned to the Grenadiers, serving in Canada with The Queen's Company before moving to the Reconnaissance Platoon.
He played for his battalion's football team, most recently during a French military tour, as well as a local team when at home.
Lance Corporal Ashworth had recently been promoted to the role of non-commissioned officer.