UPDATE: Tim Hetherington, who co-directed last year’s Oscar-nominated war documentary Restrepo, has been killed in an early-morning mortar attack in Misrata, Libya. He was 41. As details emerge about the attack, which also injured four other journalists, Deadline has learned that Hetherington was set to be honored next week in Los Angeles — along with his Restrepo co-director Sebastian Junger — with an award from the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. Meanwhile, friends in the industry have begun speaking out about the award-winning photojournalist.
Landmark Theatres CEO Ted Mundorff, whose exhibition chain showed Restrepo — which follows a platoon of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley, known as one of the most dangerous postings in the U.S. military — remembers meeting Hetherington last year, when the film premiered: ”Restrepo was opening at the Landmark and he was so excited, surprised and a little overwhelmed at the recognition that the film received. Tim was as enthusiastic on June 25, the day Restrepo opened, as he was eight months later, when we caught up again during the award season. He never lost that humility, graciousness and most of all that sense of excitement. I’m sure there are many, many people who join me in sending heartfelt condolences to his family and friends during this terribly sad time. We have lost a remarkable talent and a true hero.”
The UK-born Hetherington produced pieces for ABC News’ Nightline, worked with CNN and Vanity Fair from the front lines in such hotspots as Afghanistan and Liberia and won several honors for his war photography, including the prestigious Alfred I. duPont Award. Said the Hetherington family in a statement: “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.”
Hetherington and Junger were slated to receive the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America’s inaugural Leadership in Entertainment Award on April 27 during the IAVA’s Third Annual Heroes Celebration at 20th Century Fox Studios.
Vanity Fair is reporting that Getty Images photographer Chris Hondros was gravely injured during the attack in the war-torn city, where forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi are trying to beat back a rebel uprising. UPDATE: Hondros died from his wounds later in the day.