The veteran British foreign correspondent and author Robert Fisk has died at the age of 74. The journalist and author was reportedly admitted to St Vincent’s hospital in Dublin after becoming unwell on Friday. A source at the Independent, where Fisk was Middle East correspondent, confirmed the news of his death.
Described by the New York Times in 2005 as “probably the most famous foreign correspondent in Britain”, Fisk won many prestigious awards over the span of his career for his coverage of the Middle East. These included the Orwell prize for journalism and multiple wins at the British Press Awards in the categories of international reporter of the year and foreign reporter of the year.
Fisk was celebrated in the UK for his coverage of Lebanon and his influential and best-selling account of the conflict, Pity the Nation. He joined the Independent in 1989, and remained their correspondent in the region until his death, covering events such as Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait and the recent wars in Syria. He also reported on the Bosnian and Kosovo wars in the former Yugoslavia.
In the last years of his career, he attracted criticism for his coverage of Syria’s ongoing civil war, with detractors – including some former admirers – accusing him of being insufficiently critical of his sources, especially those in the Syrian regime and army. He was unswayed by the controversy and maintained that he was writing only what he saw and heard. As his stature grew both in the west and in the regions he covered, his journalistic methods started drawing closer scrutiny leading to questions over the credibility of some of his work, though he remained influential and widely read.
Robert Fisk also wrote books on Northern Ireland and the Middle East, including Pity the Nation: Lebanon at War and The Great War for Civilisation, in which he chronicled “the betrayals and treachery and deceit of Middle East history”.