Tributes flow for deceased Lebanese-American journalist Anthony Shadid

Published Friday, February 17, 2012

Anthony Shadid, a veteran Lebanese-American journalist for the New York Times, died on Thursday at the age of 43 from an alleged severe asthma attack while reporting in Syria.

The New York Times said the exact circumstances or whereabouts of his death were not yet clear, but confirmed his body had been taken across the border into Turkey.

Shadid apparently suffered an allergic reaction to the horses that took him across the Turkish border into Syria, the New York Times reported.

Shadid's sister-in-law told Al-Akhbar that the family had yet to decide whether to bury the esteemed journalist in Lebanon or in the United States.

Ibrahim Kalin, Chief Advisor to the Turkish prime minister, said on Twitter that an autopsy would be carried out in the southeastern Turkish city of Adana.

Shadid had covertly entered Syria a week ago to report on the 11-month-old crisis that threatens to plunge the country into a civil war.

His investigative talents won him two Pulitzer Prizes, one in 2004 and the other in 2010, both for his coverage of Iraq.

Shadid won the admiration of journalists, politicians, and activists from all sides in the Middle East.

Rami Khouri, Director of the Issam Fares Institute at the American University of Beirut and friend of Shadid, said his loss would "set an example" for other reporters to follow suit.

"He stuck out from the pack because he was different, and what made him different ... [was his] reporting from the ground up, and this is something that people rarely do anymore in the Middle East," Khouri said.

Khouri first met Shadid in 2000 when the journalist made his first trip to cover the Middle East, and noted the great humility Shadid exhibited in his years of work in the region.

"He was empathetic to people, and thought every single person, whether it was a reformer or president, had value. He listened to people, he was humble. Humility was his great attribute," Khouri said.

"He resisted the temptation to become a media star."

Humility combined with diligent reporting, Shadid projected "to the world the nuanced realities of the Middle East," providing a unique angle to the region, Khouri remarked.

An outpouring of tributes flowed on social media networks as soon as news of his death surfaced.

At the time of writing, Anthony Shadid was the fifth most Trending Topic on Twitter.

David Kenner, Associate Editor at Foreign Policy magazine, tweeted that Shadid was "one of the best journalists of his age."

High-profile Egyptian blogger Issandr el-Amrani, or The Arabist, called Shadid "the Godfather of Arab-American journalism."

Khouri praised Shadid's work in the Middle East, which left an imprint on many.

"The stories he wrote, and the life he lived, can teach us for years to come – if we can muster his same combination of humility and diligence."

(Al-Akhbar)

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