NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A U.S. Navy Sailor from Virginia Beach died on Thursday while serving aboard the USS Leyte Gulf.

The Navy confirmed Sonar Technician (Surface) 3rd Class Nicholas Woods’ death on Monday in a press release.

Woods joined the Navy in 2020 and reported to the Leyte Gulf in August 2021 after attending Surface Combat Systems Training Command.

His cause of death is still pending, the Navy says.

“The loss of a friend or loved one is always tragic, and even more so when they are young, dedicated to service, and sailing into harm’s way. Sonar Technician Surface 3rd Class Nicholas Woods was one of those young people,” said Capt. Michael Weeldreyer, commanding officer of USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55). “My deepest condolences and prayers are with his family and friends. He was an important part of the Leyte Gulf family, and we will ensure that the family and our Sailors have all available resources and support as they navigate this difficult time.”

Kate Woods, Woods’ sister, said in a Friday post on Facebook that he was “the brightest part of everyone’s day” and that “it still doesn’t feel real.”

“You were full of nothing less than the purest of love and kindness, and we will all miss you so much,” Kate Woods wrote. “My baby brother that I hated so much as a kid, picked on so hard, then loved to the ends of the universe as we got older is gone forever. Take today to tell your loved ones how much they mean to you, because like my family and I, you may never get to see them again. He was amazing. He had only just begun his life, and yesterday it was cut way too short. I will love you forever. We all will. And you will be sorely missed.”

The Navy says counseling and resources are being provided to help the crew in the wake of Woods’ death.

The guided-missile cruiser deployed earlier this month from Norfolk as part of the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group. It was operating in the Atlantic Ocean at the time.