A 21-year-old Marine from Iota has been killed in Afghanistan, a family member confirmed Thursday.

Matthew Richard’s mother, Alicia, said she was informed of her son’s death Thursday morning at 6 a.m.

He was serving on his second tour of duty, she said.

Richard died during an explosion involving an improvised explosive device, the mother said.

The U.S. Department of Defense has not yet confirmed the fatality.

She said her son had always wanted to be in the military “as long as I can remember. He died doing what he wanted to do.”

Richard joined the Marines at age 17 out of high school, Alicia Richard said.

“He was a hero,” his mother said. “Very few young men know at 18 what they want to do with their lives and stick with it.”