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Catawissa, MO (KSDK) - Family and friends are mourning the death of a soldier, who was killed while on patrol in Afghanistan.

Army Specialist Jeff White was just days away from coming home for leave. His friends and family were planning a huge bonfire to celebrate his return, and outings at the Blues and Cards games to cheer on his favorite teams. But now, those plans have been put on hold. White was killed earlier this week when his vehicle hit an IED in Afghanistan.

He graduated from Pacific high school in 2008 with a very close group of friends.

"He was the best person you could ever meet," White's friend, Katie Crawford said. "He would always make you laugh."

Thursday, those friends gathered to share their memories of White. They say he was outgoing and he was the leader of the group. He had a daring, adventurous side and had a heart of gold. They were counting down the days until they could see him on his leave. And they were looking forward to the end of his tour of duty in December.

"Jeff was the man," said White's friend, Chris Mendoza. "He was the strongest, craziest person you will ever meet in your entire life. He took everything to the extreme."

"He was my local hometown hero," said friend, Devin Berdeaux. "I miss him. Nothing is ever going to bring him back now."

In October, White was able to see the Cardinals win the World Series during his last leave trip.

"I'm glad he got to see that before he left," said friend, Zach Lueders. "I'm so glad. Because for St. Louis, that was crazy."

Now, his friends are hoping the Blues will win the Stanley Cup in his honor.

Funeral arrangements for white are still pending.

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