Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Scottish soldier dies on holiday in Florida

Shaun Cole Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Shaun Cole, a former Tynecastle High School pupil, reportedly died of a head injury

A Scottish soldier has died while on holiday in Florida.

Pte Shaun Cole, 22, from Edinburgh, was attending the Ultra Music festival in Miami with two friends.

Local media has reported that he died as a result of a head injury and his body was found on a pavement. He was serving with the Royal Scots Borderers.

Pte Cole's family described him as "an extremely popular young man" with "a flair for life". They said his life has been "taken from him too soon".

In a statement, released by the Army, his family said: "It comes with such regret that we have had to say goodbye to an amazing son, brother, grandson, nephew and friend.

"An extremely popular young man, he had a flair for life and was always the life and soul of everyone he was around. He was an incredible young man who had his life taken from him too soon. We ask everyone to respect our privacy to grieve. "

Image copyright Facebook

Police in America said the former Tynecastle High School pupil had a blunt force trauma to the head, and they were still trying to establish whether his death was an accident or murder.

Pte Cole had recently returned from serving in Sierra Leone, where he was helping with the fight against Ebola.

Commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Matt Munro said Pte Cole would be "missed terribly".

He said: "The men and women of 1 SCOTS are shocked and deeply saddened to hear of the death of Private Shaun Cole."

"Only recently back from helping to battle the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone and a veteran of the conflict in Afghanistan, Shaun achieved an extraordinary amount in a military career that was full of promise but was tragically cut short. We will miss him terribly.

"Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with Shaun's family at this desperately difficult time."

'Team player'

Tom Rae, head teacher at Tynecastle High School, said: "Shaun is remembered fondly as a helpful, pleasant and hard-working student.

"He had a good sense of humour and was popular with his peers, the staff and was a real team player."

Jamie Lothian, who is understood to have been on the music festival trip with Mr Cole, wrote on Facebook from Fort Lauderdale: "It is killing me inside to write this but I still can't get my head around any of it.

"I've not only lost one of my best friends but a brother and there is not a moment for the rest of my life that I'll never stop thinking about you bro! Thanks everyone for the support."

Image copyright Facebook
Image copyright Facebook

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