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Pulitzer winner Anthony Shadid dies in Syria

Anthony Shadid takes notes outside Ayatollah Sistani's office

Anthony Shadid takes notes outside Ayatollah Sistani's office in Najaf. (Dec. 3, 2003) Credit: AP

Anthony Shadid, a veteran foreign correspondent for The New York Times and two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, died of an apparent asthma attack while covering the unrest in Syria, officials at the newspaper said Thursday night. He was 43.

"Anthony was one of our generation's finest reporters," said Times Publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., in a statement. "He was also an exceptionally kind and generous human being. He brought to his readers an up-close look at the globe's many war-torn regions, often at great personal risk."

On its website, The Times reported that Shadid had an asthma attack while traveling to Turkey in eastern Syria and that his colleague, Times photographer Tyler Hicks, carried his body into Turkey.

The circumstances of his death were unclear Thursday night but the Times report said that Shadid had been inside the country for about a week documenting the Free Syrian Army's fight to oust President Bashar al-Assad.

"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," said Jill Abramson, executive editor of the newspaper in a statement.

"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."

The Times called Shadid's files from abroad "graceful" dispatches about the turmoil they often chronicled. His last story was on Feb. 9, the Times said.

It was "a behind-the-scenes look at the tumultuous situation in Libya, where rival militias had replaced the government of Col. Moammar Gadhafi.

It ran long, at more than 1,600 words, which was typical of Mr. Shadid's work."

Shadid, an Oklahoma City native and 1990 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, had covered conflicts in the Middle East for The Times and The Washington Post.

He won American journalism's highest honor, the Pulitzer Prize, for international reporting in 2004 for his work on the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq of 2003, as well as the nearly nine-year occupation, the newspaper said. A second Pulitzer would follow in 2010, also for coverage of Iraq and he was a finalist for the Pulitzer in 2007 for his coverage of Lebanon.

Times officials said Shadid became bureau chief of the Beirut bureau of The New York Times in 2010 after serving as the Baghdad bureau chief for the Post, where he had worked since 2003.

He had several books to his credit, including "Legacy of the Prophet: Despots, Democrats and the New Politics of Islam" and "Night Draws Near: Iraq's People in the Shadow of America's War."

A third book, "House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East," is scheduled for release in March, the Times said.

Shadid is survived by a wife and two children.

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