Anthony Shadid, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner for his reporting in the Middle East, has died in Syria.
Jill Abramson, the executive editor of The Times, said on Thursday, “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.”
The Times said he appeared to have died from a severe asthma attack. A Times photographer, Tyler Hicks, carried Shadid’s body from Syria into Turkey, the paper said. Shadid was 43.
Hicks told the paper that he and Shadid snuck into northern Syria from a mountainous border area in Turkey to report on the unrest there.
"They squeezed through the fence’s lower portion by pulling the wires apart, and guides on horseback met them on the other side," said the paper. "It was on that first night, Mr. Hicks said, that Mr. Shadid suffered an initial bout of asthma, apparently set off by an allergy to the horses, but he recovered after resting."
But on the way out of the country a week later Shadid suffered a more severe attack, again set off by the horses. This time he did not recover.
Shadid, of Lebanese origin, won two Pulitzers for his fearless reporting from war-torn Iraq, in 2004 and again in 2010.
Shadid's reporting took him into the most dangerous parts of the Middle East. His reporting was distinguished by personal stories of the people who lived amid the dangers of the civil war in Lebanon, the fractured world of post-Saddam Iraq and lately, the Arab spring.
In November 2011 he wrote this in the New York Times about Egypt in the wake of its revolution:
"Mr. Mubarak still casts a long shadow over his broken capital, in all its decrepit grandeur. It is most visible in the black-clad, helmeted police officers who still act with impunity. It is there in the suspicion, and distrust, and frustration at all those Sisyphean struggles. It remains a city yet to be claimed by its people."
And in 2009, he described the U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq thusly in The Washington Post:
"From the once-proud city of Baghdad, they have withdrawn through a landscape that bears the scars of the battles they fought and witnessed, where the echoes of occupation still sound along the road in the grunts of anarchy and the whispers of abandonment. Everything seems bent and broken, torn and tangled, from the railing on the highway to the signs bearing names of faraway destinations to the rubble piling up along the curbside. At least those curbs are not yet crumbling."
He was shot in the shoulder when working for The Boston Globe in 2002 in the West Bank. And in March of last year, he and three colleagues went missing in Eastern Libya while reporting on the uprising against Moammar Gaddafi.
The Libyan government released the four journalists, including Stephen Farrell, Lynsey Addario and Tyler Hick, on 21 March 2011.
Shadid began his Middle East career working for the Associated Press, and went on to work for The Boston Globe.
He worked for The Washington Post for many years — winning both prizes for his work there — before joining the New York Times. (The author worked with Shadid in Iraq in 2003.)
Shadid's latest book, “House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East,” will be published next month by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Here is a sampling of quotes from his work in The New York Times.
"No one expected the Arab revolts to be a simple march ahead, but rarely have things seemed so much in flux, with more potential for fragmentation, bloodshed and disarray."
Post-Uprising, a New Battle; The New York Times, Nov. 26, 2011, from Cairo
And The Washington Post has posted links to Shadid's remarkable work in Iraq that was submitted for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize:
In 2004, the Pulitzer board cited Shadid for “his extraordinary ability to capture, at personal peril, the voices and emotions of Iraqis as their country was invaded, their leader toppled and their way of life upended.”