An American man killed in a Russian attack in northern Ukraine was trying to find food for his sick mate, family members told the media as they mourns the loss of one of the first American citizens to perish during the invasion.
Jimmy Hill was “gunned down” in Chernihiv, Ukraine, while waiting in a bakery with several others, his sister, Cheryl Hill Gordon, said in a Facebook post. She said his body was found on the street by local police.
Ukrainian officials reported that 10 people were killed Wednesday while standing in line for bread in Chernihiv. Local police and the US State Department confirmed the death of an American but have not yet identified the deceased.
Months before Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine, Jimmy Hill was there to join his Ukrainian teammate, Ira, who has multiple sclerosis, Hill’s older sister, Katya Hill, told CNN.
Family members begged him to flee the country, but he was determined to stay.
“He wouldn’t leave Ira in her condition,” Katya Hill said.
Gordon told the Washington Post that her brother and his partner traveled four hours to Chernihiv Regional Hospital for treatment after she developed pneumonia.
Throughout the month, Jimmy Hill’s Facebook posts document the difficult conditions he faced in Chernihiv amid the fires, explosions and sirens of the air raid. The posts also document Ira’s condition and his own feelings of helplessness as the two face hunger and cold.
In his last post on Tuesday, Hill wrote “Heavy bombing! Still alive. Limited food. Very cold room. Ira is in intensive care.”
Katya Hill told CNN that her brother was trying to find food for himself, Ira and other patients at the hospital when he died.
“My brother is the one who helps people find in crisis,” she said.
Hill grew up in Minnesota and lived in several other states as an adult. He identifies himself as a lecturer at universities in Kyiv and Warsaw, Poland.
Gordon told the Washington Post he’s also an Airbnb host who enjoys traveling, spending time with family in the US, and living in Ukraine.
Katya Hill told CNN that the family has been unable to contact Ira’s mother and they do not know where her brother’s body is.
“The hardest thing we’re going to have to go through is not having that kind of closure,” she said.
USA TODAY has reached out to Katya Hill for comment.
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Hill is at least the second American citizen to die in the conflict in Ukraine. The first reported American death was the killing of journalist and filmmaker Brent Renaud last week.
Local governor Viacheslav Chau told Ukrainian TV channel on Thursday that at least 53 people have been taken to the morgue in the past 24 hours, who were killed in airstrikes and ground fire in Chernihiv.
Contribution: Associated Press