PHOENIX -- A U.S. Marine just home from a tour of duty in Afghanistan died Tuesday after he slipped and fell while hiking the Grand Canyon.
Friends of Jeff Klingsick, 20, say he was on a road trip from his base at Camp Pendleton in Southern California to his hometown of Derby, Kan. when the group he was with decided to stop in Arizona and see the Grand Canyon.
Officials with Grand Canyon National Park said they received a report of a man falling over the edge at Pipe Creek Vista.
Park rangers rappelled over the edge and found Klingsick's body approximately 600 feet below the South Rim of the Canyon.
Friends say Klingsick was set to arrive home in Derby Wednesday or Thursday.
"Going overseas and everything he went through, it's very hard to believe that he comes back here and something like this happens," said Taylor Clausius, who has known Klingsick since middle school.
"He just had a huge heart and he was an amazing person," she said.
An investigation into the incident is being conducted by the National Park Service in cooperation with the Coconino County Medical Examiner.