An American teacher who was in Ukraine caring for his ailing partner was killed in a Russian attack on Chernihiv, a town north of kyiv, according to his sister and a local official.
James Whitney Hill, 67, was one of four people killed in a bombing on one of the city’s main streets, a local official said Thursday.
Mr Hill was found with his passport, which showed he was born in Minnesota, the official said.
His sister Cheryl Hill Gordon said the US Embassy called their brother Robin Hill early Thursday morning to inform the family that Mr Hill had died.
A US State Department spokesman said a US citizen died in Ukraine on Thursday, but declined to give the person’s name or any other details.
“Out of respect for the family at this difficult time, we have no further comment,” the spokesperson said.
Mr Hill, who passed by Jimmy with his friends and family, identified himself as a freelance speaker on his Facebook page, which was filled with condolences on Thursday.
Ms Hill said her brother had spent the last 25 years teaching all over Europe, most of that time in Ukraine. His Facebook bio says he taught at Taras Shevchenko National University in Kyiv. The father-of-two loved baseball and fly fishing, Ms Hill said.
Mr Hill had been home for Christmas, his sister said, but returned to Ukraine to help his partner, Iryna Teslenko, get into a special hospital to start advanced treatment for her multiple sclerosis.
The couple remained in Chernihiv as Russian forces invaded the country. As the attacks on the city escalated, his Facebook feeds grew more urgent.
“We want to take a family with children with us. It’s not safe here. But it’s not safe,” he wrote on March 13.
Ms Teslenko, who is from Ukraine, was too weak to travel, he said in another message. He wrote that they often sheltered with others at the local hospital where his partner, whom he called Ira, was a patient.
“Not allowed to take pictures. Spies all over town. Shelling intensified with no way out,” he wrote on March 15.
“Intense bombardments! Still alive. Limited food. Very cold room. Will go to intensive care,” he continued, in what would be his final Facebook post.
Ms Teslenko’s condition could not be determined on Thursday.
Katya Hill, another sibling, said her brother only left his partner’s side to go out and look for food. She last spoke to him on March 5.
“When the shelling increased, the men in the hospital were asked if they wanted a gun. And Jim replied, ‘No, I don’t carry a gun. And he said, ‘But if you give me a fishing rod and some bait, I’ll try to catch some fish.’ They didn’t get his joke,” she said. “My brother had a sense of humor in the family, and he retained his humor except for the last two days when we were in contact. I think he realized how bad it was. was going to have.”
The family had contacted federal officials asking for help getting Mr Hill and his partner out of the country, which would require transport by ambulance, Ms Hill said.
She said her brother also wanted to try to help other Ukrainian families he had met secure safe passage, she said.
“He just wasn’t going to leave Ira,” she said. “He would never give up on her.”
–Isabel Coles and Joseph Pisani contributed to this article.