New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson just announced to the staff the death of foreign correspondent Anthony Shadid, 43. He apparently was stricken with an asthma attack. Shadid twice won the Pulitzer Prize while working for the Washington Post.
I have heartbreaking news. Anthony Shadid, our brilliant and beloved colleague, has died, apparently of an asthma attack, while reporting inside Syria. Anthony, accompanied by Tyler Hicks, was on his way out of the country, heading toward the border to Turkey, when he suffered the attack. Tyler carried Anthony out of Syria into Turkey.
Anthony died as he lived — determined to bear witness to the transformation sweeping the Middle East and to testify to the suffering of people caught between government oppression and opposition forces. He has spent much of his storied career chronicling the Mideast; his empathy for its citizens' struggles and his deep understanding of their culture and history set his writing apart. He was their poet and their champion. His work will stand as a testament.
Our thoughts and prayers are with his family tonight: his wife, Nada Bakri; his son and daughter; and his parents.
Shadid, who was born in Oklahoma City, has also reported for the Boston Globe and Associated Press. (He spent some time in the AP's Los Angeles bureau.) Last year Shadid was one of the New York Times journalists detained in Libya. Hicks, referred to by Abramson, is a photojournalist who also was one of the four held in Libya.
Shadid gave a lecture for the Center for Journalism Ethics last year called "The Truths We Tell: Reporting on Faith, War and the Fate of Iraq," available online, and was the author of several books.
After the jump, an excerpt from a story on the New York Times website.
Mr. Shadid’s hiring by The Times at the end of 2009 was widely considered a coup for the newspaper, for he had been esteemed throughout his career an intrepid reporter, a keen observer, an insightful analyst and a lyrical stylist. Much of his work centered on ordinary people who had been forced to pay an extraordinary price for living in the region — or belonging to the religion, ethnic group or social class — that they did.
He was known most recently to readers of The Times for his clear-eyed coverage of the Arab Spring. For his reporting on the sea change sweeping the region — which included dispatches from Lebanon and Egypt — The Times nominated him, along with a team of his colleagues, for the 2012 Pulitzer in international reporting. (The awards are announced in April.)
Last March, he and three other New York Times journalists — Lynsey Addario, Stephen Farrell and Tyler Hicks — were kidnapped in Libya by Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s forces. They were held for six days, during which they were beaten, before being released.
Later that year, even as the Syrian authorities denounced him for his coverage and as his family was being stalked by Syrian agents in Lebanon, he nonetheless stole across the border to interview Syrian protesters who had defied bullets and torture to return to the streets.