This was not the type of saving that Jesus Christ did. But it was also a very selfless act.

Stanislav Petrov, a Soviet military officer prevented a nuclear war between Russia and United States of America – a war that would have completely destroyed the world.

So, how exactly did he do it?

In September 1983, Petrov was an officer on duty at a secret command centre south of Moscow when an alarm went off signaling that the United States had launched intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The officer -- who had only a few minutes to make a decision and was not sure about the incoming data -- dismissed the warning as a false alarm.

The 44-year-old lieutenant colonel reported a system malfunction and an investigation that followed afterwards proved he was right.

Had he told his commanders, they would have ordered a retaliatory strike which would have made a nuclear war inevitable.

Petrov has now died, aged 77.

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Petrov, whose extraordinary story was told in a documentary titled: "The Man Who Saved the World", received several international awards, was honoured at the United Nations and met Hollywood superstars such as Robert De Niro and Matt Damon.

Yet, Petrov lived a humble life in a small town outside Moscow.

He died without much people knowing about him or his heroic accomplishment.

In fact, he died in May but only months after that the world heard about it.

News of his death only made headlines in Russia and abroad after a German friend wrote a blog post about his death.

Adieus Petrov! The world remains grateful 

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