(CNN) -- The body of an Air Force pilot has been found off the coast of Italy, three days after the F-16 he was flying went missing, his family announced Thursday.
"It is with great sadness that we announce that the body Capt. Lucas Gruenther was found in the Adriatic Sea this afternoon. A compassionate husband, a loving son, and a devoted brother; Luc leaves behind a family who loves him dearly and a legacy of achievement," the family statement said.
Controllers lost contact with the F-16 around 8 p.m. Monday (2 p.m. ET) while the jet was on a training flight, the U.S. Air Force reported.
Italian search teams found debris believed to be from the fighter jet Tuesday.
The aircraft was based at Aviano Air Base, a key NATO installation in northern Italy.