New York Times' Anthony Shadid dies of apparent asthma attack in Syria

The New York Times

The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist was on assignment in eastern Syria, without the government's knowledge, when he apparently died of an asthma attack. Times photojournalist Tyler Hicks, who along with Shadid was kidnapped during the Libyan revolution last year, carried his body into Turkey. The Times reports:

The exact circumstances of Mr. Shadid’s death and his precise location inside Syria when it happened were not immediately clear.

But Mr. Hicks said that Mr. Shadid, who had asthma and had carried medication with him, began to show symptoms early Thursday, and the symptoms escalated into what became a fatal attack. Mr. Hicks telephoned his editors at The Times, and a few hours later he was able to take Mr. Shadid’s body into Turkey.

The Times obituary describes the dangerous nature of Shadid's work:

In 2002, as a correspondent for The Boston Globe, he was shot in the shoulder while reporting in Ramallah, in the West Bank. 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.

Shadid's last story, about Libya's efforts to contain growing militias, was published Feb. 8.

Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson notified staff in an email about 9:30 p.m.:

All --

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 said in a 2006 interview that the worst part of reporting from Lebanon was missing his daughter. "She knows what is going on – I know she has cried about it,” he said. “It is a constant on my mind, that is the worst part about this job.”

Last month, Shadid said in a Mother Jones interview, "I don’t think there’s any story worth dying for, but I do think there are stories worth taking risks for." || Related: Shadid honored on front pages of college paper, former papers, New York Times | Storify of reaction to Shadid’s death | The brilliance of Anthony Shadid’s writing

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