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Ukrainian Oleksandr Zavhorodniy had lived in Ireland for almost 20 years and worked at an Aldi in Sandyford, Dublin.
But after Russia invaded Ukraine, the 45-year-old decided to leave Ireland on 2 March to defend his country.
The dad-of-two, who friends believe was a sniper, was killed on 30 March when the Donbas region in the east of the country came under heavy bombardment.
His friend, Anya Neilande, said people had tried to persuade him not to return to Ukraine.
According to The Irish Times, she said: "It is quite heroic. People did try to persuade Alex to stay. But I think he was very committed and he made up his mind. He was really stubborn.
"He called me and on the 1 March and said that he had made the decision to go back. I was checking him in to the flights and booking him in to a hotel.
"I knew he would have walked to Ukraine if he had to. That is just how determined he was."
Anya said his eldest daughter lives in St Petersburg in Russia with her mum, while his youngest child was living in Ukraine when the war broke out. She managed to make it to safety in Germany with her mum, but Oleksandr never got to find out that she had escaped the country.
Speaking on Today with Claire Byrne, Anya said: "He was super worried about them. He said he had to go back to Ukraine because somebody has to protect the children and elderly and women. He felt it was his duty to go back and protect and do anything he can."
She added: "He was a Russian speaker and he came back to fight the Russian army which is something we still can't fit in our heads.
"This war is just tragic. I can't find words to describe the whole magnitude of this situation. It is incredible."
Anya has since set up a GoFundMe, which has raised more than €25,000 (£20,817) for the family of Oleksandr, who was the best man at her wedding.
"A massive thank you to all Irish and Ireland as a country," she said.
"A massive thank you on behalf of everyone for opening the borders and for helping us and supporting us."
A spokesperson for Aldi described him as 'a valued and much-loved member of the Aldi team for over eight years', and said counselling services have been made available to his colleagues.
They said: "We all shocked by this news and our thoughts are with Oleksandr's family and friends at this very difficult time.
"He was a great asset to the company and will be greatly missed."
If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information
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