Rigby, a father with a 2-year-old son named Jack, was a member of the 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. He joined the army in 2006 and was first posted to Cyprus, and later served in Afghanistan and Germany. He began a post in a military recruitment office in London in 2011.
"Drummer Rigby was a loving father, with a very bubbly character. He was an excellent drummer, loved his job, and was a highly popular member of the platoon. He had served in Afghanistan as an FSG operator and was very diligent in his work. He was always around when needed and will be sorely missed by all members of the Second Fusiliers Corps of Drums. Once a Fusilier, always a Fusilier," said Sergeant Barry Ward, drum major, Second Fusiliers, in a statement released by the Ministry of Defense.
The attack, which occurred in broad daylight on the streets of Woolwich, a district in southeast London. The two attackers wielded what were described as a "meat cleavers," and after hitting the victim with a car, hacked him to death in front of dozens of witnesses.
During the attack — which was caught on video — the attackers screamed "Allahu Akbar," and then waited for the police to come.
"We swear by Almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you. The only reasons we have done this is because Muslims are dying every day. This British soldier is an eye for an eye a tooth for tooth," one attacker, wearing a blood-stained hoodie, says to the camera. "We apologize that women had to see this today but in our lands our women have to see the same. You people will never be safe. Remove your government. They don't care about you."
The men then tried to attack police when they arrived and were shot. They both survived, and are now in custody.
Prime Minister David Cameron called the events "truly shocking" but said that Britain would not stand down.
“We have had these sort of attacks before in this country and we never buckle in the face of them,” he said.