The 28-year-old nurse was among seven people who died in the attack on London Bridge and nearby Borough Market on Saturday night local time (Sunday AEST).
“As she ran towards danger, in an effort to help people on the bridge, Kirsty sadly lost her life,” the family said in a statement issued through London’s Metropolitan Police on Tuesday.
“We are so proud of Kirsty’s brave actions which demonstrate how selfless, caring and heroic she was, not only on that night, but throughout all of her life. Kirsty – we love you and we will miss you dearly.”
It was unclear if Boden was hurt when three men used a van to run down pedestrians on the bridge or when they went on a stabbing rampage in a nearby market.
The three terrorists were quickly shot dead by police.
“Kirsty was loved and adored by her family, friends and boyfriend,” the family statement read.
“She was the most outgoing, kind and generous person who loved to help people. Helping people was what she loved to do in her job as a nurse and in her daily life.”
The family, from Loxton in SA’s Riverland region, asked for “the privacy we need to grieve away from the public eye”.
Boden worked in the theatre recovery ward at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital which said on Tuesday she was a “one in a million” nurse who “always went the extra mile for the patients in her care”.
SA Premier Jay Weatherill offered his condolences to the family and gave a brief press conference this morning, saying: “The South Australian community shares your heartbreak and offers its support to you at this awful time.”
“This is one of those events that do touch the life of every South Australian.
“This is just so cruel; so wrong for someone so compassionate to be taken from us by such an unspeakable act of evil.
“Like so many South Australians she wanted to explore the world – it seems so cruel that her adventure should end in this way.”
Reading a statement on behalf of Flinders University Vice Chancellor Colin Stirling, Weatherill said: “She was a much-loved member of the Flinders University family … a high achiever, winning the School of Nursing and Midwifery study abroad scholarship in 2008 and awarded membership of the Golden Key honour society in 2009.”
“The whole of the South Australian community [is] incredibly proud of Kirsty in everything she did,” he said.
“Even in her last moments she made everybody proud.”
Dame Eileen Sills, chief nurse and a member of the board at London’s Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital, where Boden worked in theatre recovery, described her as an outstanding nurse and a truly valued member of the team.
Dame Eileen says staff remember their colleague as “one in a million” who always went the extra mile for the patients in her care.
“I cannot put into words how sad I am that we have lost one of our own,” Dame Eileen said.
Members of the Loxton State Emergency Service said she always “lit up the room with you’re (sic) adorable smile and gorgeous laugh”.
“You are a true everyday hero, putting the needs of those injured before yourself,” they said on Facebook.
Immanuel College principal Kevin Richardson said the former student was a border and a star swimmer who always wanted to travel.
“She was a very caring person. One of those kids who basically had a great passion for life and wanted to live every moment,” he told ABC radio.
Former schoolmate, Donshae Kaesler said Boden was “always so bubbly at school”.
“You will be sadly missed,” she said.
– AAP with additional reporting from Bension Siebert/InDaily
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