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by Peter Knegt
April 20, 2011 10:07 AM
24 Comments
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"Restrepo" Director Tim Hetherington Killed In Libya (UPDATED)

Image courtesy of Sundance Institute.

Academy Award-nominated documentary filmmaker Tim Hetherington has been killed in Libya, it is being reported by Vanity Fair (where Hetherington worked as a contributing photographer).

Though there are conflicting reports to the contrary, Vanity Fair is reporting that Hetherington's colleague Chris Hondros is alive and remains in grave condition. It is also being reported that three other journalists were wounded in the incident, which was a mortar attack. Photographer Guy Martin is in very serious condition, while freelancer Michael Brown is slightly wounded. The identity of the fifth person is unknown.

The news was first posted on fellow photographer Andre Liohn's Facebook page.

Hetherington co-directed last year's "Restrepo" with journalist Sebastian Junger, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for an Academy Award for best documentary. The film shows a year with one platoon in Afghanistan's deadliest valley. He was also the cinematographer in Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg's "The Devil Came on Horseback."

In a statement, the Hetherington family said the following:

"It is with great sadness we learned that our son and brother photographer and filmmaker Tim Hetherington was killed today in Misrata, Libya by a rocket-propelled grenade. Tim will be remembered for his amazing images and his Academy Award nominated documentary “Restrepo” which he co-produced with his friend Sebastian Junger.

Tim was in Libya to continue his ongoing multimedia project to highlight humanitarian issues during time of war and conflict. He will be forever missed."

"[We are] reeling from the news about Tim," a representative from the Sundance Film Festival told iW Wednesday afternoon as news spread about the tragedy. "We all adored him. We send our condolences to all of Tim’s family and friends."

His "Restrepo" co-director Sebastian Junger, meanwhile, said in a statement:

"There is no way to express my devastation and sorrow at the death of my dear friend, Tim Hetherington in Misrata, Libya. Tim was one of the most courageous and principled journalists I have ever known. The good that he accomplished – both with his camera, and simply as a concerned person in some of the most devastated countries in the world – cannot be measured. I can’t believe he is truly gone."

Hetherington's last tweet on his Twitter feed read: "In besieged Libyan city of Misrata. Indiscriminate shelling by Qaddafi forces. No sign of NATO."

indieWIRE interviewed Hetherington alongside Sebastian Junger last year.

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24 Comments

  • Col. Korn | April 25, 2011 12:35 PMReply

    My Dear Friends and Comrades,

    Tim Was a REAL Combat Journalist.

    All you whippersnappers who think you know all about Combat need to see his film, "Restrepo". That will straiten you out if nothin else will. I can tell you, The way these armchair Journalists in London say he got hit?, it was most likely ten times worse and filled with more agony then their paper could ever hold.

    Tim was no Spring Chicken and knew the dangers of Combat well. So, let that be a lesson to all who decide on the path to high adventure: If someone like Tim Hetherington could buy the farm, then anyone can, at any time. Know the true risks before you buy that Canon 7D and a set O Marspec from Sportsmans guide!

    On a Battlefield the enemy just shoots and asks questions later. Thats a Fact and nobody is immune and no sign that says "Journalist, dont shoot" can save you from an Artillery officer who's Four Miles away sippin Tea while he's a readin the Mecca Times.

    You know, Tim had quite a good run...Better than Most and never lied to try to build himself up. The Stark reality of War was his canvas and his paint was the Blood, Sweat and Tears of its Victims. Hellofa Artist...Hellofa Man.

    May he rest in Peace in the everlasting Glory of God Almighty. We will all Miss his special Elixir of Honesty, Simplicity, Horse Sense and Courage.

    Your Obt. Svt.
    Col. Korn,
    Chief O Mayhem In the Great WW-2 and the Cold War,
    Now Chief O Sanitation, Security an the Complaint Dept.
    OXOjamm Studios,
    WWW.OXOjamm.Com.
    (P.S. See his film, "Restrepo", Hear me?!)

  • Claire Boehm | April 21, 2011 3:15 AMReply

    Civilians have many reasons to enter war zones, Tim knew his reasons, and the risks. I honor his courage and will to report what few of us would see or know otherwise.
    As for the attacls on # 4, they are just as disturbing and out of place as the actual post.
    I wish Tim Hetherington eternal peace, and comfort to those he left behind. Tim's work will shine on an be an inspiration to those who follow in his footsteps.

  • Joan | April 21, 2011 2:26 AMReply

    @ Barry (#4) ~ when I read ridiculous comments like yours, it simply tells me that although you appear to show no sign of brain activity, sadly, you have yet to be removed from life support. And I have to totally agree with Andrea (#7), with that blurb of illiteracy you splashed across this web page, IndieWIRE could do us all a tremendous favor by censoring your obnoxious rambling.

    RIP Tim Hetherington.

  • Francisco J. Bueno | April 20, 2011 12:49 PMReply

    As a latinamerican, and specially as a Colombian, where the surname originates (originally from Asturias in northern Spain) "Restrepo" is a very familiar name, and therefore his story.
    Shall we never forget that northamericans and southamericans are united by religion and european ancestors.
    We are really sadenned by his loss. Tim Hetherington will always live in our hearts. God bless him.
    This shall ring a bell on Obama that when you are decided to go into a war to remove a tyrant like Gadaffi there are no compromises. Hopefully Libya will not become a second Bay of Pigs.

  • Susan | April 20, 2011 10:42 AMReply

    I have to disagree with the comments that civilians should not be allowed in war zones. We MUST have civilians there. First of all, they provide needed services such as delivery, food service & general care. Most importantly, though, civilians are able to provide an eye to what is really going on.

    If we leave reporting to the military we run the risk of an even scarier world free from facts and only open to manipulation.

    Tim Hetherington will remain a hero for his bravery in the commitment he had to providing the rest of us the REAL story, the ugly story of war.

  • lynda Hansen | April 20, 2011 8:58 AMReply

    A great tragedy and terrible loss. This is a time when the film community must join together. My heart goes out to Tim's family and his dearest friends. Let us mourn Tim Hetherington and remember him as the great man he was: a daring filmmaker who made the films he HAD to make and made the brilliantly. Nothing would stop him from his calling. RIP: Tim Hetherington.

  • Jan Serda | April 20, 2011 8:37 AMReply

    My heart goes out this Tim & his family. May his soul rest in peace.

  • TF | April 20, 2011 8:26 AMReply

    Michelle & Seulgaulois & Leigh The depth of stupidity of anyone who thinks war should be fought without civilian observation by journalists for the rest of us who are supporting or not supporting both in dollars and voice, boggles the mind. What planet to you live on? Have you not seen what goes on in war in your name? If you have it has been only because a civilian was there and told the story to the world! I won't waste a word on an idiot like Barry.

  • Josh | April 20, 2011 8:03 AMReply

    @ Barry: After reading you post, my brain actually hurt. Your comment was so stupid and nonsensical it actually killed brain cells. Please, don't publicly express an opinion ever again. Humanity will be better off as a result. In addition, start taking your meds again. You'll be better off as a result.

  • Leigh | April 20, 2011 7:27 AMReply

    RIP Tim. Michelle: I agree civilians shouldn't be allowed in a combat zone, however you are forgetting the majority of Libyans in the combat zone are civilians. Those are the people that shouldn't be "allowed" to be in a combat zone. It is a moral imperative to report what a conflict does to people, lest the West continue to agitate for conflicts which most of their populations are shielded from experiencing. Tim and his fellow journalists performed that role better than most - from Liberia to Libya - showing the true nature of war: the senseless destruction in the interests of a few powerful people. The thinking world salutes Tim's contribution showing what we in the West allow to happen.

  • Seulgaulois | April 20, 2011 7:26 AMReply

    Thank you Michelle.
    he had no business being there. I respect his sense of risk taking and he wanted to provide information but he had no business being in the midst of battle. And for those who are now feeling sorry for him, get off your moral high grounds! This battle in Libya is beyond all of us. The US, France and NATO have no business there other than to stir the pot to remove Gaddafi and take over his assets. It has nothing to do with any American Freedom. He took a risk, he fell through. God bless him but don't try to bring freedom into this. The only freedom we have is what I am doing right now. Expressing my views... but I don't need the military to defend that. I need my congressman and my senator before the military. RIP Tim.

  • Michelle | April 20, 2011 6:51 AMReply

    A terrible shame a civilian has lost their life. Condolences to the family.
    Non military should NOT be allowed in any country where there is war. It is not their job to be there. Too many people are wanting to know too much of what happens in these countries we are at war with. Leave it to the men and women who signed up for this job. When will people learn.. civilians should not be allowed.

  • Paul Perrier | April 20, 2011 6:51 AMReply

    He died doing what he loved. Everyone should be so lucky !

    Restrepo was brilliant.

  • Frank Giron | April 20, 2011 6:51 AMReply

    My condolence to His Friends and Family It was of a Hero to go there so we can learn why Our Soldiers are overthere fighting for Our freedom that we enjoy in this great nation of Us freedom that most of the time we take for granted. ( Im original from El Salvador and I know what its like to live under a represing military goverment)

  • Paige | April 20, 2011 6:40 AMReply

    Barry- Wait till the secret service knock on your door. Have some respect whether you agree with our leaders or not. You probably aren't event intelligent enough to know the word nihilist. Go live in a cave. RIP Tim.

  • Allie Light | April 20, 2011 6:07 AMReply

    I am so sorry. The life he will no longer lead, the films he will no longer make. Restrepo was a film that put the viewers into the battle. Thank you, Tim, for your work.

  • Jason | April 20, 2011 5:34 AMReply

    They gave their lives so the world would know what is happening to Afghan and Libyan people. Very noble my friends, a job well done. Rest in peace.

  • Andrea | April 20, 2011 5:26 AMReply

    Barry -- where did you get your HS diploma? Was it public school? If so, you owe us all a refund. Was it private school? If so, you owe your parents a refund.

  • Cindy | April 20, 2011 5:24 AMReply

    What a tragedy. In all honesty, I am stunned that he and Sebastian survived the making of Restrepo. Such a loss.

  • Susan | April 20, 2011 5:16 AMReply

    Barry....hush. You're showing extreme ignorance. This is not about politics this is about a man losing his life while trying to provide information to those who stay stateside.

    What sadness that Mr Hetherington lost his life. "Restrepo" is an incredible documentary and took immense bravery to film.

    Mr Hetherington is indeed a true hero for putting his life on the line when he didn't have to.

    His memory will remain a blessing for generations.

  • barry | April 20, 2011 5:09 AMReply

    as long as nato who cant run anything. i blame them and obaoma for there deaths. drop some bunker busters into his compound in tripp ans seew how fast its voer fuck the people who protect him just do it.we dont have a pres leader he is musluim not born here and a chichago thug. its time america does the same protestest until ob and his cronies afe forced out2more yrs we cant do it time is now.

  • Shay | April 20, 2011 5:09 AMReply

    Wow that is a real tragedy

  • Josh Williams | April 20, 2011 4:52 AMReply

    I hope he was not another victim of NATO bombing

  • Just Another Film Buff | April 20, 2011 4:42 AMReply

    Terrible. So terrible.