updated 12/27/2008 12:07:57 AM ET 2008-12-27T05:07:57

A prominent New Jersey doctor has been killed in Iraq, the Defense Department said Friday.

Maj. John P. Pryor was a well-known trauma surgeon at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. According to the Pentagon, Pryor died Christmas Day when a mortar round hit near his living quarters.

Pryor's colleagues say they're devastated by the loss of the New York City native. Pryor, who was 42, was a married father of three.

He wrote of his experiences as a surgeon confronting violence in Iraq and inner-city Philadelphia in articles published in The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Washington Post.

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