R.I.P. Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros

TIm Hetherington and Chris Hondros

Sad news to report, Getty Images war photographer Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington, award-winning news photographer and co-director of the Oscar nominated documentary Restrepo were killed yesterday in Libya. They were in the city of Misurata which is held by rebels who oppose the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, the city has been under attack for several weeks now, and is surrounded by forces who are loyal to Gaddafi. Their deaths come as an apparent result of a mortar round, Hondros was brought to a hospital while in a coma extending from a head injury and died several hours later. Hetherington and Hondros along with several other journalists were on their way to a more secure area when the shell went off, companion and freelance journalist Guillermo Cervera said this of the incident to the Los Angeles Times, “We were trying to get to a safe place. It was too quiet. It felt dangerous. I heard the whoosh of an explosion, and everybody was on the ground.”

Chris Hondros was on the short list for the Pulitzer Prize in spot news photography for work in Liberia in 2004 and won Robert Capa Gold Medal in 2006. He was active in journalism since the late ’90s and has worked around the world in places such as Afghanistan, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, and the West Bank. Tim Hetherington was U.K. native who studied literature at Oxford University before turning to journalism, his film Restrepo about a platoon in Afghanistan won the Jury Prize at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. Seven rebels and a Ukranian doctor were also killed in the incident.

TIm Hetherington and Chris Hondros

Reporting from Misurata, Libya, and Los Angeles — Barely two months ago, combat photographer Tim Hetherington sent out a tweet from the Academy Awards ceremony, where his Afghanistan war film “Restrepo” was up for the best documentary trophy.

“At the #Oscars w/ Josh Fox of @gaslandmovie and director of Wasteland http://ow.ly/i/8Dl6,” he messaged, referring to two of his fellow nominees in the category. The tweet was accompanied by a photo of Hetherington, beaming, in a tuxedo.

On Tuesday, Hetherington sent out a very different report from the shattered and besieged Libyan city of Misurata: “Indiscriminate shelling by Qaddafi forces. No sign of NATO.”

Those starkly dissimilar dispatches reflected two disparate but complementary sides of Hetherington, 41, who was killed Wednesday in an explosion believed to have been caused by a mortar round in Misurata. The rebel-held city in western Libya has been under siege for several weeks by forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi.

The same mortar blast fatally wounded Chris Hondros of Getty Images, a veteran combat photographer whose work appeared on the front page of Wednesday’s edition of the Los Angeles Times, and appears in today’s edition as well.

Hondros, 41, suffered a severe head injury in the blast and was taken to a hospital, where he died several hours later. READ MORE