Finbar Cafferkey, a native of Achill Island off the coast of County Mayo, has died in Ukraine, his family confirmed on Thursday, April 27.

“We are grieving,” Cafferkey’s father Tom, based in County Mayo, told the Connaught Telegraph on Thursday.

“It's a private matter. I don't want to say anything further.”

No further details have been released regarding the Irish man's death.

A spokesperson for Ireland's Department of Foreign Affairs told BBC that the department was aware of the case and was providing consular assistance.

Cafferkey, who was reportedly in his 40s, had previous military experience before heading to Ukraine. He was also previously involved with the Shell to Sea protests against the Corrib Gas project.

On Thursday, Máire Ní Mhórdha said on Twitter that her friend Cafferkey "lived an exceptional life, committed to the principles of liberty and equality for all, fighting alongside the people of Rojava to defeat Isis, and dying by the side of Ukrainians in their fight for freedom."

Several outlets reported on Thursday that Cafferkey was the same man who, using the Kurdish pseudonym Çiya Demhat, spoke with the Irish Mirror in 2017 while fighting in Syria alongside the Kurdish YPG rebels.

At the time, the man with an Irish accent had uploaded a video to YouTube that said in part: “I’m from Ireland. I came here to fight with the YPG against the IS.”

He continued: “I came here because I admire the struggle of the Kurdish people. I admire the People’s Protection units and how they go about their fight.

"There’s many similarities between the Irish and the Kurdish struggles and I’ve long admired the Kurdish people for standing up for themselves and I hope to help them in doing that and that’s why I came.”

He added: “I see many parallels between the Kurdish struggles and the struggles in Ireland. We are both small countries and we have fought powerful enemies. Kurdistan is divided among four states all of whom are powerful, all of whom have treated the Kurdish people abominably. Again, it’s one of the reasons I admire the YPG and one of the reasons I came here.”

Last October, County Meath man Rory Mason, 23, also died while fighting in Ukraine.