EDMONTON - A Canadian soldier has died in Edmonton from wounds he sustained while in Afghanistan earlier this month, the Canadian Forces announced on Monday.
Corporal Darren James Fitzpatrick died at the University of Alberta Hospital on Saturday after succumbing to wounds he received from a roadside bomb that detonated while he was on patrol in Afghanistan on March 6.
The 21-year-old infantryman from Prince George, B.C., was critically wounded during a joint Canadian-Afghan mission 25 kilometres west of Kandahar City.
Cpl. Fitzpatrick was treated at the multinational hospital at Kandahar Airfield and was then airlifted to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. He was evacuated from Germany to the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton on Friday.
Cpl. Fitzpatrick died late Saturday afternoon surrounded by his family, the military said in a release.
Cpl. Fitzpatrick was a member of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, based at CFB Edmonton. He joined the military in 2006 and had been in Afghanistan since last October on his first overseas tour.
"Cpl. Darren James Fitzpatrick cared very deeply about serving his country," Governor-General Michaelle Jean said in a written statement. "On mission in Afghanistan, he was convinced of the crucial importance of humanitarian assistance for the communities of Kandahar province, where poverty, insecurity and terrorism are daily realities.
"From the bottom of our hearts and on behalf of all Canadians, we extend our most sincere condolences to the family, friends and comrades of Cpl. Fitzpatrick, in particular those serving in the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry. We share their pain, and our thoughts are with them," Ms. Jean wrote.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper also expressed his condolences.
"This incident is a stark reminder that the Canadian mission in Afghanistan is a difficult one, but the Canadian Forces are making a difference and are improving the lives of the Afghan people," the Prime Minister said in a written statement.
"The government of Canada and all Canadians are proud of our men and women of the Canadian Forces who bravely give their all in support of this United Nations-mandated, NATO-led mission.
"Cpl. Fitzpatrick is a Canadian hero and his sacrifice will not be forgotten," he wrote.
Cpl. Fitzpatrick's death brings to 141 the number of Canadian soldiers killed in the Afghanistan conflict since 2002.
Some 2,800 Canadian military personnel are deployed in Afghanistan. Canada's military mission in Afghanistan is to end in 2011 in keeping with a parliamentary decision to withdraw forces.