National News

NC State grad among journalists killed in Libya

Posted April 20, 2011
Updated April 21, 2011

— Tim Hetherington, the daring war photographer and Oscar-nominated co-director of the documentary "Restrepo" about a platoon of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, died Wednesday while covering battles between rebels and Libyan government forces. He was 40.

With him was photographer Chris Hondros, a North Carolina State University graduate who now is based in New York for the Getty agency. Hondros also died and two other photographers were seriously injured, said a doctor in Misrata who spoke on condition of anonymity because of fears of government reprisals.

Hetherington was killed in Misrata, the only rebel-held city in western Libya, said his U.S.-based publicist, Johanna Ramos Boyer. The city has come under weeks of relentless shelling by government troops. Hetherington tweeted Tuesday: "In besieged Libyan city of Misrata. Indiscriminate shelling by Qaddafi forces. No sign of NATO."

Since his 1993 graduation, Hondros has covered conflicts in Irag, Afghanistan and elsewhere, according to a report on the N.C. State website. During his time at the university, Hondros was honored as student photographer of the year in North Carolina. His photos have appeared in The New York Times, Newsweek and The Economist.

NCSU report on Hondros' life and work

Hetherington was nominated with Sebastian Junger, author of "The Perfect Storm," for an Academy Award for their 2010 documentary film "Restrepo," which won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.

"He was an amazing talent and special human being," said Sundance Institute spokeswoman Brooks Addicott.

"Restrepo" tells the story of the 2nd Platoon of Battle Company in the 173rd Airborne Combat Team on its deployment in Afghanistan in 2007 and 2008. The title refers to the platoon outpost, named after a popular soldier, Juan Restrepo, who was killed early in the fighting.

"We're at war," Hetherington said in an interview with The Associated Press before the Oscars. "We wanted to bring the war into people's living room and put it into the movie theaters, and get people to connect with it. It's not necessarily about moral outrage. It's about trying to understand that we're at war and try to understand the emotional terrain of what being at war means."

Hetherington was born in Liverpool, England, and studied literature and photojournalism at Oxford University. Known for his gutsy ability to capture conflict zones on film, his other credits included working as a cameraman on the documentaries "Liberia: An Uncivil War" and "The Devil Came on Horseback." He also produced pieces for ABC News' "Nightline."

"Tim bore powerful witness to unimaginable battles and made them real through the lens of his camera," said ABC News president Ben Sherwood. "He leaves a legacy of unforgettable stories told through moving and still pictures."

Hetherington's photos appeared in Vanity Fair magazine, where he worked as a contributing photographer. He won the World Press Photo of the Year award for an image of an exhausted U.S. soldier resting after a fire-fight in Afghanistan and released "Infidel," a book of photos capturing the lives of the 173rd Airborne Combat Team, in 2010.

Hetherington is survived by his mother, father, sister, brother and three nieces and nephews.


Associated Press Entertainment Writer Ryan Pearson contributed to this report.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • NRAalltheway Apr 21, 2011

    I just wish that WRAL would give this much coverage to all the actual Soldiers and Marines that die in battle.

  • tcoutouzis Apr 21, 2011

    PBJBeach - This in not the place to discuss your political views of being for or against the war. I was best friends growing up with Chris's brother, so I knew him very well. I am offended that you would use his death as a pulpit to preach anti-war sentiments and blame all war on Republicans. Do you have no compassion? His mother is devastated and his brother is hurting badly and you show no care whatsoever. This article is not about war, but about loss.

    I am going to miss Chris. He had an amazing eye for photography and did exactly what he loved. He did not fear going into those dangerous situations. That is why I called him Indiana Jones.

  • Killian Apr 21, 2011

    As a photographer, I mourn their talents. As a mother, I grieve for the loss of a child. As an American I hurt for the loss of another person striving for peace through the integration of information and knowledge.

    I wish their families the peace that time and loving memories will bring.

  • Jeremiah Apr 21, 2011

    As for those out there who claim that "he shouldn't have been there", do you trust the government to tell us what's happening out there? Do you trust the military?

    I for one, don't. I know in situations like this the government or the military is going to report what they want us to hear.

    I, for one, appreciate that some people are willing to put their lives in danger in order to report the TRUTH back to us.

  • HardcoreAMERICAN Apr 21, 2011

    Okay, pbjbeach, if you are going to discuss something regarding war, military, and defense contracts, make sure you know what you are talking about. Stop watching CNN and Fox News so much. I am in the Military and have operated in about every Muslim country on this earth. I have seen the real picture. Maybe you should join the Military or hop around to these Countries to see what it is all about before you go running your mouth about something you have no idea about. As for the guys from good old NC, rest in peace and thank you. My heart goes out to their families.

  • pbjbeach Apr 21, 2011

    While i a sorry for this young mans death an the deaths of other personnel over there. i wouldlike to take this oppurnioty to state that these repbulican party memebr never saw a war that they didn't like for more wars to these repbulicans just means more more an mor contracts for the defense induatry in this country . this war isn't an hasn't been about anything but contracts from the very beginning from the iraq war to afgansthan it is all about strickly contract letting an arms an supporting the defense industry an this isnt necessarly about the protection of americans freedoms anywhere in the world or the freedome of any other people it is strickly all about the arming of these froeign country an their fighters wioth contracts fro the american defenses an armmenants companys thank you

  • sillywabbitthepatriot Apr 21, 2011

    War is hell.

    Journalists often get overlooked for their bravery and sacrifice they offer when bringing raw footage of conflicts to our fingertips.

  • PhotoJ Apr 21, 2011

    To those who are mourning the loss of these two men, I humbly join you. To those too cynical to understand the higher purpose the men gave their lives for, stay out of this thread. Unlike the brave men and women in uniform fighting this conflict, these men were not SENT to Libya, they went voluntarily to show the world the truth through their images. When we go into these situations, we do understand the risks, but we are putting the truth above those risks for all of humanity. Tim and Chris will be missed both personally and professionally. -30-

  • grayboomerang Apr 21, 2011

    RB....yeah, give it about 10 years and those "rebels" we are helping will be bombing another target in the US. Anyone remember when the US was helping the Rebel Leader Bin Laden???????

    I don't know why we have decided it's our job to police the world. Muslim countries hate us and want to be left alone. If they weren't sitting on our oil supply, I'm sure we would let them fend for themselves.

  • dr1nk1ngm3rcury Apr 20, 2011

    May he rest in peace.