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Terry Anderson, Former AP Correspondent Held Hostage In Lebanon, Dies At 76

Terry Anderson, a celebrated Associated Press correspondent held hostage in Lebanon for nearly seven years, has passed away at 76 due to complications from heart surgery.

Terry Anderson Photo: AP

Terry Anderson, a renowned Associated Press correspondent who endured nearly seven years of captivity in Lebanon, passed away at the age of 76. Anderson's daughter, Sulome Anderson, confirmed his death, citing complications from recent heart surgery.

Anderson's journalism career was marked by his fearless pursuit of truth on the ground, often in perilous territories. He gained international attention when he was abducted by Islamic militants in war-torn Lebanon in 1985. His harrowing ordeal, chronicled in his memoir "Den of Lions," shed light on the brutality of his captivity.

Julie Pace, Senior Vice President and Executive Editor of the AP, lauded Anderson's dedication to journalism and his resilience during his years in captivity. Anderson's daughter, Sulome, reflected on her father's reluctance to be hailed as a hero, emphasizing his contentment with a life rich in experiences.

Following his release in 1991, Anderson embarked on a diverse post-captivity journey, teaching journalism, and venturing into various entrepreneurial endeavors, including operating bars and restaurants. However, he grappled with post-traumatic stress disorder and financial challenges, filing for bankruptcy in 2009.

Retiring to a tranquil horse farm in rural Virginia, Anderson sought solace and embraced a quieter life. Yet, his legacy as a courageous journalist and survivor persisted, with colleagues and friends remembering his resilience during his captivity.

Anderson's abduction in 1985 occurred amidst Lebanon's turmoil, where he was targeted due to his role as a journalist. Enduring years of brutality, including solitary confinement and physical abuse, Anderson emerged as the longest-held hostage of Hezbollah, engaging in remarkable acts of defiance and resilience.

Despite the trauma he endured, Anderson maintained his wit and humor, providing moments of levity amidst his captivity. His friendship with Don Mell, who witnessed his abduction, exemplified profound bonds forged in adversity.

Acknowledging the challenges of post-captivity life, Anderson spoke candidly about his struggles with PTSD, finding solace in his Christian faith and the wisdom of forgiveness. Reconnecting with his estranged daughter, Sulome, became a significant chapter of reconciliation and healing for Anderson.

Born in 1947, Anderson's early years in Vermilion, Ohio, were followed by service in the Marines during the Vietnam War. His journalism career led him to Lebanon, where he encountered both the dangers of war and the resilience of the human spirit.

Survived by his daughters, Sulome and Gabrielle, as well as his sister and brother, Anderson's legacy extends beyond his captivity.