A Saskatchewan-based soldier who died last week while serving at a military base in the Persian Gulf has been described by his family as a "committed patriot" who joined the Canadian Forces in response to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
The body of Cpl. Brendan Anthony Downey was found early Friday in the living quarters of Camp Mirage, a secretive desert base which offers logistical support to Canada's mission in Afghanistan.
Officials have issued few details about Downey's death, but have said it was non-combat-related. Downey was born in Montreal and was a military police officer based in Dundurn, south of Saskatoon.
He leaves behind a pregnant wife, Cpl. Vanessa Downey, and a two-year-old son, Adam.
A statement released by his family on Sunday said he was overjoyed to hear of his wife's recent pregnancy and will be sorely missed by his family and friends.
"Cpl. Downey was a well-respected, extremely proud and tremendously professional member of the Military Police Branch," said Maj. Bob Barrett, commanding officer of the Dundurn detachment, in a news release.
"He was a great Canadian and will be missed dearly by our close-knit family at Detachment Dundurn."
Downey's death is the 11th non-combat fatality of Canada's mission in Afghanistan. Others have included fatal stumbles, suicide, an accidental shooting and traffic accidents.