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A US citizen and former Marine, Willy Joseph Cancel, died fighting alongside Ukrainian forces in Ukraine, the man’s widow confirmed to Fox News Digital early Friday morning.
“My husband died in Ukraine,” Brittany Cancel, the 22-year-old former Marine’s widow, told Fox News Digital. “He went there wanting to help people, he always thought that was his main mission in life.”
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Cancel leaves behind his wife and a 7-month-old son.
“My husband was very brave and a hero,” Cancel said. “I never expected to be widowed at 23 or for our son to be fatherless. All I want is for him to come home and be given the funeral that he deserves.”
The former Marine signed up to work for a private military company in addition to his full-time job as a corrections officer shortly before war in Ukraine broke out in late February, the mother told CNN. by Willy Cancel, Rebecca Cabrera. After the war started, the company asked for contractors to fight in Ukraine, and Cancel agreed to go, the mother said. Cabrera did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment before press time.
Cancel flew to Poland on March 12 and passed through Ukraine between March 12 and 13.
“Before he wanted to help the effort in Ukraine, he was a detention officer in Kentucky,” the widow told Fox News. “He had dreams and aspirations of being a police officer or joining the FDNY. Naturally, when he found out about what was happening in Ukraine, he was eager to volunteer.”
This is a developing story and will be updated.