Surgano was based out of New River

A Marine assigned to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit died on Thursday at a hospital in Portugal, according to a Marine Corps release.

Staff Sgt. Denver Surgano, 32, of Beaufort, S.C., died of a non-combat related illness, according to the release, though the exact cause of death was not released.

Surgano deployed with the MEU as the flight equipment staff non-commissioned officer-in-charge for the air combat element, according to the release. He was with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 167 out of New River. The squadron is part of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing that is headquartered at Cherry Point.

Surgano was serving with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 162 (Reinforced) as part of the 26th MEU.

“Staff Sgt. Denver Sugano was a vibrant leader with an infectious personality who was beloved by his Marines and universally respected by those who knew him,” Lt. Col. Brian T. Koch, commanding officer of VMM-162 (Reinforced), said in a statement. “VMM-162 (Reinforced) lost a brother today. We will miss him and he will forever be in our thoughts and serve as an inspiration to each one of us.”

Sugano began his career in the Marine Corps on July 29, 2002, according to the release. He was promoted to staff sergeant on March 1, 2010. He began his tour with HMLA-167 on Dec. 20, 2011.