Ukrainian theatre and film actor Oleksii Khilskyi, who was born in Kamianske and is known for his roles in the TV series Doctor Kovalchuk, Niukhach (The Sniffer), and others, has been killed in action.
The 35-year-old man fought in the 46th Separate Air Assault Brigade of the Airborne Assault Forces.
The tragic news of the actor's death was reported by his wife Nadiia Khilska.
"I am writing this, but I cannot fully believe it myself. Liosha (diminutive for Oleksii – ed.) was killed while performing a combat mission.
He was the best man I know. The kindest! The most handsome! The most talented! Everything he did, he did with passion. And what a thirst for life he had! He loved life so much! I love you, my warrior," Nadiia wrote.
Oleksii is known for his roles in the TV series I'm On Your Side, The Hen, Love in Chains, Doctor Kovalchuk, Operative on Call, and A Riddle for Anna. He also acted on stage in theatre, starting his career in 2010 with the Dnipro Youth Drama Theatre Believe!
Oleksiy joined the army in the beginning of the full-scale war. Nadiia Khilska said that he was wounded twice, but returned to the front again.
He was a Chief Sergeant in a reconnaissance platoon, taking part in the liberation of Kherson, and then fought in Bakhmut and Soledar.
On 17 August, Nadiia reported that Oleksii had not been in touch for over a day. He was killed while performing a combat mission in the Zaporizhzhia front.
Oleksii is survived by his wife and daughter. He was a caring father and husband.
"My darling, I am very happy that almost 13 years ago we became parents to our daughter. You have always been the best daddy for her. You changed her nappies, bottle-fed her at night, you always found adventures, rode bikes, played board games, you taught her how to mount and many other cool things)
You are the best dad anyone could ever wish for! Congratulations, my darling," Nadiia Khilska wrote on Father's Day.
On social media, friends and colleagues remember Oleksii as a talented, brave and kind man.
"I'm from Dnipro, everyone in Dnipro knows Liosha. A talented actor, a decent man, a bright and strong person. He died in the war, defending our Ukraine. What a huge loss for my home theatre, Believe.
Liosha is survived by a lovely wife and daughter, you can help the girls by following this link," wrote actress Aliona Kaporina.
The Vivat children's music and drama theatre also honoured the hero's memory.
"It's hard to believe... But today it became known that Oleksii Khilsky was killed while performing a combat mission. We managed to make friends with him... And although we were brought together by a cruel war, this acquaintance leaves only warm and bright memories, because that is how I remember Oleksii, incredibly sincere and dear, without any 'star fever', a man of soul.
We wanted so much to work together, to go on tour with our 'Bee', to celebrate the Victory... The entire Vivat theatre family expresses our condolences to his family and friends," the theatre says.
"I once attended a performance by the Believe Theatre and Oleksii Khilsky was brilliant. He was very talented and charismatic.
After that, we invited him to our Kedy (a pub – ed.) to give acting courses for waiters. He gladly agreed. After that, we became friends. He went to Kyiv to develop his acting career.
A month ago he was in Kedy in Dnipro and we talked to him. I was very happy to see him. We talked about the war, Ukraine and family. He's gone now. RIP, hero!" Denys Zhatkin wrote.
"To be honest, I haven't seen Liosha in the cinema, because I rarely watch it. But I remember him very well in the theatre. [He played] Comrade Kalabushkin in the play Suicide, [and I remember] his work in the play Classmates. These are the things that immediately come to mind.
Every time you think [of them], these guys just live forever. Actors, musicians, artists, journalists, soldiers... Let's just remember Liosha. And we can help his family," Olha Vladymyrova wrote.
Earlier, we reported that actor Yevhen Svitlychnyi, who played in the film Nosorih (Rhino), was killed in combat for Ukraine.