An American killed in a Russian attack in northern Ukraine was trying to find food for his sick partner, his family members told the media as they mourned the loss of one of the first citizens Americans to die during the invasion.
Jimmy Hill was “shot” in Chernihiv, Ukraine, while waiting in a line with several other people, his sister, Cheryl Hill Gordon, said in a Facebook post. Her body was found on the street by local police, she said.
Ukrainian officials reported that 10 people were killed on Wednesday while standing in the bread line in Chernihiv. Local police and the US State Department confirmed the death of one American but did not identify the person who was killed.
Months before the Russian tanks arrived in Ukraine, Jimmy Hill traveled there with his Ukrainian partner, Ira, who has multiple sclerosis, Hill’s sister, Katya Hill, told CNN.
His family members begged him to flee the country, but he was determined to stay.
“He wasn’t going to leave Ira as he was,” Katya Hill said.
Gordon told the Washington Post that his brother and his partner spent four hours at Chernihiv Regional Hospital for treatment after contracting pneumonia.
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Throughout the month, Jimmy Hill’s Facebook posts chronicled the atrocious conditions he faced in Chernihiv amid fires, explosions and air raid sirens. The messages also documented Ira’s condition and her own sense of helplessness in the face of hunger and cold.
In his final post on Tuesday, Hill wrote, “Heavy shelling! Still alive. Limited food. Very cold room. Will be in intensive care.”
Katya Hill told CNN her brother was trying to find food for himself, Ira and other patients in the hospital when he died.
“My brother was the help people find in a crisis,” she said.
Hill grew up in Minnesota and lived in several other states as an adult. He identified himself as a lecturer at the universities of kyiv and Warsaw, Poland.
He was also an Airbnb host who loved to travel, dividing his time between his family in the United States and his life in Ukraine, Gordon told The Washington Post.
Katya Hill told CNN the family has been unable to reach Ira’s mother and the whereabouts of her brother’s body are not known.
“The hardest thing we’ll 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 was at least the second American citizen to be killed in the conflict in Ukraine. The first reported US death was that of journalist and filmmaker Brent Renaud last week.
Local governor Viacheslav Chau told Ukrainian television on Thursday that at least 53 people had been brought to morgues in the past 24 hours and had been killed in heavy airstrikes and ground fire in Chernihiv.
Contributor: The Associated Press