Ukrainian double European champion weightlifter Oleksandr Pielieshenko has been killed in the war against Russia, the Ukrainian weightlifting federation announced on Monday.

Pielieshenko, 30, won European gold in 2016 and 2017, and narrowly missed out on a medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics where he came fourth in the 85kg category.

"It is with great sadness that we have to tell you that the heart of the great Ukrainian sportsman Oleksandr Pielieshenko has stopped beating," the federation reported in a statement.

Ukraine's national weightlifting coach Victor Slobodianiuk said Pielieshenko had "died a hero defending Ukraine" in a post on Facebook.

Pielieshenko joined the Ukrainian army in February 2022 at the start of the Russian invasion, noted the Ukrainian Olympic Committee.

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