Willy Joseph Cancel, 22, has been killed fighting in Ukraine against the Russians, his family said. The former US marine, who had been living in Tennessee, leaves behind a wife and seven-month old baby
Willy Joseph Cancel has been killed fighting in Ukraine A 22-year-old former US marine has been killed fighting in Ukraine against Vladimir Putin’s forces, his family have reportedly said.
Willy Joseph Cancel was based in Ukraine where he was being paid to fight with a private military contracting company, his mother Rebecca Cabrera said.
He had joined the firm as well as working full-time as a corrections officer in Tennessee before the Ukraine invasion began in February.
The former Marine, who leaves behind a wife and a seven-month-old baby, then agreed to go out to Ukraine when the war started.
His family said he was killed last Monday and that his body has not been found.
His family are now trying to get his body back home
Ms Cabrera told CNN: “He wanted to go over because he believed in what Ukraine was fighting for, and he wanted to be a part of it to contain it there so it didn’t come here, and that maybe our American soldiers wouldn’t have to be involved in it.”
She said that he would step up when others were not prepared to do so.
“He was just a really thoughtful person. He always put everybody ahead of himself even when situations were so stressful,” said Ms Cabrera. “He always kept everybody laughing and calm. He was the man that stood up when everybody else stood back.”
Mr Cancel is believed to have been fighting in a group of men from different countries having crossed into Ukraine in mid-March.
Now his family are seeing if it is possible to get his body back home.
Mr Cancel was moved to fight with the Ukrainians against Russia, said his family
“They haven’t found his body,” said Ms Cabrera.
“They are trying, the men that were with him, but it was either grab his body or get killed, but we would love for him to come back to us.”
Cancel was originally from Orange County, New York, said Devin Tietze Jr. – Cancel’s brother-in-law.
He said Cancel had gone to Ukraine because he was the “type to fight for what’s right regardless of the outcome.”
Russian forces have devastated cities like Mariupol in Ukraine
AFP via Getty Images)
Adding: “He believed wholeheartedly this shouldn’t have happened and he wanted to go help the people in Ukraine.”
US authorities have reportedly said they are “monitoring the situation” but have not made any comment.
An official reportedly said: “We once again reiterate US citizens should not travel to Ukraine due to the active armed conflict and the singling out of US citizens in Ukraine by Russian government security officials, and that US citizens in Ukraine should depart immediately if it is safe to do so, using any commercial or other privately available ground transportation options.”
The news follows the death of Brit Scott Sibley who died in Ukraine on April 23, says a GofundMe page set up in his memory and is believed to have been fighting Russian forces.