Terry Anderson, longest-held US hostage in Lebanon, dead at 76

 April 23, 2024

A legendary journalist who became a symbol "of the plight of Western hostages" during Lebanon's 1975-90 civil war has died.

According to the Guardian, American journalist Terry Anderson, the former Associated Press reporter held the longest by Islamist militants, died at 76.

His daughter, Sulome, confirmed that he passed away at his Greenwood Lake, New York residence this week.

While it's difficult to fathom, Anderson was held captive the longest out of the American hostages, for a total of seven years.

Anderson famously spoke about his strong Catholic faith as the one thing that prevented his suicide while being held hostage for so long.

The Guardian noted:

Kept in barely lit cells by mostly Shia Muslim groups in what was known as the hostage crisis, and chained by his hands and feet and blindfolded much of the time, the former marine later recalled that he “almost went insane” and that only his Catholic faith prevented him from killing himself before he was freed in December 1991.

His daughter, Sulome, who was born three months after he was taken hostage, released a statement.

"Though my father’s life was marked by extreme suffering during his time as a hostage in captivity, he found a quiet, comfortable peace in recent years. I know he would choose to be remembered not by his very worst experience, but through his humanitarian work with the Vietnam Children’s Fund, the Committee to Protect Journalists, homeless veterans and many other incredible causes," the statement read.

Anderson endured unspeakable torture -- both mental and physical -- while held hostage for so long, often believing that the Western world had ultimately given up on him.

In December 1987, his captors released a recording of Anderson, who said at the time, "There is a limit of how long we can last and some of us are approaching the limit very badly."

The outlet added:

His sister, Peggy Say, who died in 2015, was his fiercest advocate during captivity. She visited Arab and European capitals, lobbied the Pope, the archbishop of Canterbury and every US official and politician available.

After his release, Anderson "taught journalism at Columbia University in New York, Ohio University, the University of Kentucky and the University of Florida until he retired in 2015."

Tributes to Anderson and his experiences poured in across social media this week.