OREGON CITY -- A graduate of Oregon City High School, Tyrone Woods, has been identified as one of the four Americans killed in Libya in an attack that killed US ambassador Chris Stevens.
Woods, a former Navy SEAL and 20-year military veteran, was providing security at the consulate in Benghazi when it came under fire Tuesday.
"He was very street smart and he was the guy you would want in your corner if you were in a tight situation," Cheryl Croft Bennett, mother of Tyrone Woods, told KGW. "I'm sure my son went down fighting. I just hope his last moments weren't painful."
His high school wrestling coach, Ed Burton, said "my bet is, he was helping someone."
Burton remembers a student who was a star wrestler.
"He wasn't a very outspoken kid," said Burton. "Just a good, hardworking kid."
Perhaps that work ethic is why his mother said she encouraged him to join the military after high school. She never could have imagined he would die in the line of duty.
"Ty would not like to be seen as a hero," said Croft Bennett. "He'd want to be seen as a guy on his team who did his job and did it well."
In a statement Thursday evening, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Woods was known to his family and friends as "Rone," and they they relied on "his courage and skill, honed over two decades as a Navy SEAL."
In addition to being a registered nurse and certified paramedic, Woods served several tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and had been protecting American diplomatic personnel in dangerous posts from Central America to the Middle East, Clinton said.
He was married to a dentist named Dorothy, and had three sons: Tyrone, Jr., Hunter and Kai, who was several months old. For a time, he owned a pub in San Diego called the Salty Frog, where he settled after leaving the military.
His death was confirmed by his ex-wife, Patty So of San Diego, who was notified by the U.S. government.
"He was the greatest Navy SEAL. Nobody was more skilled than him," said So, the mother of Woods' two teenage sons. "He loved being a SEAL more than life itself."
NBC News contributed to this report.