MEMPHIS, Tenn.– Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky extended his condolences to the family of Brent Renaud, the American journalist who was killed while covering the war in Ukraine.

According to New York Times, the journalist was born in Memphis and grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas. 

The President posted his message on Twitter along with a letter addressed to his family in Little Rock. 

“May Brent’s life and sacrifice inspire the world to stand up in fight for the forces of light against forces of darkness,” he said.

Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott, Jr. also tweeted that the city will light their bridges purple and white Monday evening in Renaud’s honor.

Larry Foley, with the University of Arkansas’ journalism department, worked with Renaud in the fall of 2019.

“Brent Renaud was dedicated if not married to his profession. I mean he would go wherever the story was,” he said.

For the documentary filmmaker the story was in Ukraine. 

“It didn’t surprise me at all that he was over there in Ukraine. Of course he was, that was Brent,” Foley said.

Renaud was brought in as a visiting distinguished professor of journalism ethics. Foley talked with a student about Renaud’s impact.

Brent Renaud with a group of journalism students at the University of Arkansas in 2019.

“And she said, ‘what I remember about him is how passionate he was about his career and how in tune he was with going to wars and wherever he needed to go to tell people what was really going on,'” Foley said.

Over the weekend Ukrainian officials said Renaud had been shot outside of Kyiv, the country’s capital. Renaud had been covering the refugee crisis following Russia’s invasion.

“He really would dive in to those difficult stories,” Foley said.

“He was an Arkansas guy and he was proud of that,” Foley said. “Brent is a high example of someone who is absolutely committed and dedicated to telling people stories that mattered. Whatever it took. Even in a career that meant putting his life on the line. Even in a career that ended up taking his life.”

A man described as small in stature, but big in heart, filled with grit, determination and courage.

“Ethical, determined, truth seeking journalists like Brent Renaud, they’re heroes,” Foley said.