The stunning Brazilian sniper killed in Ukraine died of asphyxiation when the bunker she was sheltering in caught fire during a Russian bombing.
The death of former model Thalita do Valle was confirmed by her family on Tuesday, 5th July.
The 39-year-old was killed when Russian forces bombed the battalion she was with in the city of Kharkiv on Thursday, 30th June, according to earlier reports.
More recent reports, however, have been more ambiguous about the location and have given the date of her death variously as Thursday, Friday or as late as Saturday.
Her brother – Theo Rodrigo Vieira – told local media the Ukrainian Foreign Legion had contacted Thalita’s sister on Sunday to break the grim news.
According to the family, the bunker where Thalita was hiding caught fire when it was bombed by Russian forces, and she died of asphyxiation.
Her friend and compatriot Douglas Burigo, 40, allegedly died while trying to save her.
Theo told local media: “We were notified of everything that happened. There were successive attacks and the battalion was divided.
“Thalita went to the bunker and there was already a fire with the bunker closed with her inside.
“Her friend [Douglas] returned to save her in the interval between the bombing and ended up dead. She died of asphyxiation, she wasn’t hit by shrapnel.”
Thalita hailed from Ribeirao Preto but had been living in Sao Paulo for over 30 years before she travelled to Ukraine three weeks before her death.
Theo told local media: “Whenever we could, we talked. We were always in contact with her and other soldiers.”
He revealed: “Thalita has always been involved in humanitarian missions with the foreign legion of some country or here in Brazil.
“She was always moved by the feeling of saving animals and humans.”
Theo went on: “My sister was always peaceful, a genuine progressive. Guns are part of a context, war, but she saved lives, she saved animals.
“She never encouraged young people to take up arms. She was a peaceful person.”
Local media reported that she had been involved in several animal protection initiatives in Brazil.
She had also volunteered as a rescue worker following the dam disasters in Mariana in 2015 and in Brumadinho in 2019.
Earlier reports stated that Thalita had trained as a sniper with the Peshmerga in Iraq and had fought the Islamic State on the front line.
She was reportedly studying law and had also worked as a photographic model when she was 18.