Award-Winning New York Times Reporter Dies in Syria

Posted February 17th, 2012 at 1:30 pm (UTC-5)
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Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign correspondent Anthony Shadid has died while on assignment in Syria for The New York Times.

The newspaper says the 43-year-old Shadid suffered a severe asthma attack Thursday while preparing to leave Syria, where he spent the past week covering opposition forces battling the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. A Times photographer traveling with Shadid took the reporter's body back to Turkey.

Shadid, an American of Lebanese descent who was fluent in Arabic, spent his two-decade career reporting on the Middle East for the Associated Press, The Boston Globe and The Washington Post, as well as the Times. He won the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting while working for The Washington Post in 2004, and again in 2010, for his coverage of the U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Iraq.

In Washington Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton paid tribute to Shadid and his work.

“I also want to extend on behalf of myself and our government our sympathies to the family of Anthony Shadid and to The New York Times for his untimely death. He was somebody I always turned to and read very carefully, and if I didn't have the time when I got to the press reporting, I would put it aside and read it because he had his pulse on what was happening.”

Shadid's Middle East assignments often put him in danger. He was shot in the shoulder in 2002 while covering the Israeli-occupied West Bank, and detained in Libya last year along with two other Times correspondents by forces loyal to the late Moammar Gadhafi.

The Times says Shadid and his colleague slipped into Syria with the help of smugglers.

Times executive editor Jill Abramson, in an e-mail to the newspaper's staff Thursday, praised Shadid as a reporter “determined to bear witness to the transformation sweeping the Middle East.”