Chris Hondros, friend and colleague

April 20, 2011 | By Jonathan Klein | Community, News

Editor’s note, April 25, 2011: For information regarding memorial services and The Chris Hondros Fund, please click here. The following is a statement from Getty Images CEO Jonathan Klein, published April 20, 2011.

It is with a very heavy heart that I confirm the death of Chris Hondros, who died today of his injuries while covering events in Libya.

Chris never shied away from the front line and his work in Libya was no exception. He was one of the first photojournalists to join Getty Images when we set up our news business, becoming a staff photographer in 2001, and there is little doubt that he deserves much of the credit for all that we have achieved in this area.

Chris was an inspiration to me personally and to so many of his friends and colleagues. He will be sorely missed.

We are working to support his family and fiancèe as they receive this difficult news.

Chris was a renowned and highly awarded photojournalist who covered most of the world’s major conflicts since the late 1990s, including wars in Kosovo, Angola, Sierra Leone, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Kashmir, the West Bank, Iraq and Liberia. His work has appeared on the covers of magazines and he received dozens of awards, including multiple honors from World Press Photo, the International Pictures of the Year Competition, Visa Pour L’Image in France, and the John Faber award from the Overseas Press Club. In 2004, Chris was a Nominated Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Spot News Photography for his work in Liberia, and in 2006 he won the Robert Capa Gold Medal, war photography’s highest honor, for his work in Iraq. He also was named a 2007 “Hero of Photography” by American Photo magazine, and was a 2008 National Magazine Award finalist.

On a personal note, I have been fortunate to get to know Chris very well over the years. His talent, enthusiasm, passion and love of life makes it hard to imagine the world without him. Chris was a true hero in his dedication and commitment to bringing the important news and the stories of those less fortunate to us all — from far off places. He reminded us of our common humanity.

When he accompanied our colleague, photographer Joe Raedle, home from captivity in Libya a few weeks ago, he sat with me and told me in no uncertain terms that he had to cover the stories and take the pictures — so that the world could know what was really happening and could act to prevent more human suffering.

We know that many in our offices and in our community are devastated by this news. Chris, may your memory be eternal.


Jonathan Klein, Getty Images Co-Founder and CEO

Chris Hondros, Getty Images photojournalist

MONROVIA, LIBERIA - OCTOBER 05, 2005: Joseph Duo (L), 28, a former Liberian government soldier, talks with photographer Chris Hondros at his home October 5, 2005 in Monrovia, Liberia. A picture of Duo jumping into the air in exultation during a battle with rebel forces in 2003 was distributed around the world, making him a symbol of the intractable difficulties of Liberia's long civil war. Duo, now de-commissioned by the United Nations and unemployed, lives in a squalid neighborhood on the outskirts of Monrovia with a wife and three children, but his fame lives on. He's well known among Monrovians and is often stopped by people who recognize him from the photo. He is unapologetic about his military career, which began at the start of the Liberian civil war in 1990, when he was 14. 'You have to adapt yourself to the system, and that's the system I found myself in,' he says, 'I fought in the interest of the people.' (Photo Getty Images, 55870263)

2003 Chris Hondros photo of Liberian militia commander

MONROVIA, LIBERIA - JULY 20: A Liberian militia commander loyal to the government exults after firing a rocket-propelled grenade at rebel forces at a key strategic bridge July 20, 2003 in Monrovia, Liberia. Government forces succeeded in forcing back rebel forces in fierce fighting on the edge of Monrovia's city center. (Photo Getty Images, Chris Hondros, 2179063)

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  • Linda Aaron

    I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Chris obviously was a valued member of your team and a wonderful human being doing good work.

  • Amanda St.Amant

    Based on what I’ve read it’s clear that Chris had deep passion and love for his work. I wish I had had the opportunity to meet such a seemingly incredible human being in person, as he seemed to have a great story to tell, a purpose. Justin Sullivan is a friend of mine in which I heard about the loss of his friend Chris. My thoughts are with those that loved him and had the pleasure of knowing him.

  • Beverly McCannon

    What a tremendous loss to the entire team at Getty, to his family, to the world. Chris will be deeply missed by so many. My prayers are with his family and colleagues. May they never forget the gift he was to the world. All those who saw his images felt his passion for truth and justice that lay behind them. The world is richer for his having journeyed with us. We thank you, Chris.

  • Hugh Chatfield

    Photojournalist Hero Chris Hondros’, killed today in Misurata, Libya, fine words, sent to me in an email in a 10/14/07.

    “Really, the game is persuading the world, through amazing pictures, that they should care about what you care about. Tough but incredibly important when it works.”

    A rare man.

  • Szilvia

    Chris will be hugely missed. What an extraordinary person he was!

  • Heather Farley

    My deepest regards to Chris’ loved ones and friends, and everyone at Getty Images. I just discovered Chris’ work a couple of months ago, but his photos and blogs were captivating and inspiring, and his work will continue to inspire me. His work was refreshing in a time when the media could be deceiving. He will be greatly missed.

  • Tyler Rund

    I am very sorry to hear the news about Chris today. He was a true professional and always produced top notch work. He got his pictures by seeking out the tough and dangerous assignments and was as courageous as any man I have worked with. I witnessed this first-hand, spending several days with him as he followed my unit in Afghanistan. He will be missed.

    Captain Tyler Rund
    US Army

  • Sol

    Mis más sinceras condolencias para sus amigos y familiares.

  • Julian Abram Wainwright

    I didn’t know Chris personally, but I’ve followed his work very closely over the years. His pictures always conveyed an intimacy and sensitivity with his subjects. There was a humanity in his war reportage that I feel always elevated his images to a higher place. Of course, this was achieved by shooting right in the midst of the danger, along with the people he was photographing, as he did yesterday.

    I feel overwhelmed by his death. Bereft of a friend and colleague I never actually knew. I cannot believe that he is gone. My heart and thoughts remain with his family.

    Julian Abram Wainwright

  • Mark Zanzig

    This is soo sad. I have followed some of Chris’ work over the years, and I always admired his willingness to go to the front line no matter what, just to find the right images. And what superb images these were! I also loved his witty blog entries explaining how “real life” actually works in cities like Baghdad.

    My thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues.

    We will really miss him.

  • Yawar Nazir

    The death of Our colleague Chris is an irreparable loss to the fraternity of photojournalists. His death has caused an irreparable loss to field of photography. We have lost a dear friend and a colleague and a hero of Getty images and world press photography.

    May his soul rest in peace. Amen

  • takis lagoudakis

    O theos tha se prosehei twra palikari! R I P

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  • Annie Pratt

    I just wanted to extend my condolences and best thoughts to Chris Hondros’s family and the News team at Getty for their loss. May he RIP! My prayers and blessings are with you all! GOD BLESS! Annie

  • Dave Johnston

    One snapper to another, we all lost a bit of ourselves yesterday. Chris and Tim, god bless guys, thanx for the awesome shots…

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  • Monica Dart

    absolutely devastating. deepest condolences to Chris and Tim’s family and friends.

  • Valerie

    from all Capetonians in South Africa, we send our condolences to his beloved family and friends. Angels Blessings.

  • Jack Lee

    So sorry to hear Chris’s death. Deepest condolences to his family and friends. We all need move on.

  • Jay Deegan

    Chris and Tim will be missed. Condolences to their families. And to humanity.

  • Beth Harrison

    I’m saddened by the loss of Chris. I knew him briefly, yet in that short time, I was touched by his intelligence, humor, compassion, passion & dedication to his chosen profession. And in that regard, he said to me “I am an observer, not a participant”
    Please let me know if his family or Getty will be establishing a charitable fund as I would like to contribute.
    Many thanks,
    Beth Harrison

  • Stacy Bare, Former CPT, US Army

    To echo CPT Rund, we all loved working with Chris and enjoyed his company and presence as a teammate and fellow brother in arms. He always had time for soldiers and was never a burden. He quickly made himself part of the team, would always take time to teach soldiers how to shoot, how to take better pictures, and answer questions. I thought of Chris as a personal friend and was devastated to hear of his death.

    Please let us know how we can support his family. Nothing would please us more at VetEx to host a memorial adventure photoclinic or something in his name. He will be missed.


  • Khaled Soussi

    Thank you Mr. Hondros for sacrificing your life for my country.

    Dear Hondros family,
    My condolences. May Allah Almighty give you patience. We will never ever forget Chris. I am sorry for your lost, his sacrifice will save many of our people. I hope you visit Libya after we obtain our freedom to show you our appreciations and gratitude.

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  • rina castelnuovo

    A terrible loss for all. Sincere condolences to Chris’s family and Getty Images.

  • James Daigh

    Condolences to all friends and family of Chris.
    I only knew him through email exchanges when he was kind enough to send me an autographed print of his Twin Towers’ twin columns of lights-to-the-sky photo upon my soliciting him.
    As the former editor of both Police and Emergency magazines and photojournalist for same, we had a somewhat common ground.
    I enjoyed our exchanges and, of course, his images.
    Both will be missed.
    If he could just send back some photos from where he is now . . . wouldn’t those be great?
    James Daigh

  • Jack Noble

    What a great loss to the world of reportage photography. As a young photographer Chris’ work has been a huge inspiration for me, this just brings home the reality of the dangers faced by journalists working in this hazardous field. Condolences to his family and friends.

  • ashley dong

    Life is cherished.i wished you hasnot left the world.
    it is brave to work in such dangerous place.
    but too bad i got to know you too late.even i did see many of your beautiful shots before.
    tears come down.
    if there is a chance,i will choose to do the same job as you did.
    to show how bad the war is.
    the world need peace.
    you was the eye for all the world,special eye to tell.
    really thank you for all you did.
    God bless you.

  • Maya

    This is a tragic loss for all our community, jounalist, free lance, photographers and all these brave men and women who are travelling the world to make it a better place.

    Men like you are so rare to find, so much talent, dedication, and compassion.

    With tears in my eyes, i am really touched to hear this sad news.

    My Condolences to his family and friends

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  • Liz Baker

    Emotions of shock, dread and sadness were palpable amongst colleagues working on and around the Getty picture desk in the London office and our New York counterparts as we waited for news of the traumatic and fateful events that befell Chris Hondros, Tim Hetherington, Guy Martin and Michael Brown in Misrata to slowly unfold on Wednesday 20th April 2011.

    My thoughts are very much with those who are grieving for Chris… for Tim… also with those who bear first hand memories of the circumstances surrounding their loss.

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  • thank

    Life is cherished.i wished you hasnot left the world.
    it is brave to work in such dangerous place.

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  • Stanley Davies

    This loss must have been painful for fans of his work, his friends, family, and for Getty Images. I love the pictures that he took. They are so impactful and significant. I believe that Getty images would not be where they are at now without his influence. May his memory live on.

  • Christine Deverell

    I have always been impressed by his works and his dedication to his passion. He was a source of inspiration to me, a freelance photographer, and I am sure he inspired many others too. Rest in peace.

  • Meuble design

    I have tears in my eyes without knowing Chris,this is a tragic loss and everybody nkows how it is hard to lose a loved one but that’s life. I wish to present my condolences to his family and all the journalist community. Journalism is a profession that is facing these kind of troubles , especially during conflict. Rest in peace Chris. you will remain forever in our hearts

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  • Alyssa Thompson

    I do not know him but this is sad to know so dedicated and humane a person’s death. It is apparent that he had deep feelings for rest of mankind and truly believed that his work be able to make impact. A professional full of conviction, RIP dear unseen friend.

  • Natalie Nelson

    My heart felt condolences to a great human being who wanted to see the world with a difference. It is rare to see such a dedicated person. Although I know little about him, he will still remain in the minds of people for years to come.

  • Jasmine Williams

    Chris seems to be a wonderful human being and a great asset to the team. Apparently his death is a great loss to the team. Life walks us through many melancholic situations some times and things must be digested soon for that’s how life is meant to be. Virtually absent, he will still remain in the hearts for his wonderful contributions to the team.

  • Martin Mia

    My deepest condolence to a great photographer who sacrificed his life to cover the truth and reality around the world. Dare and brave photographer like Chris made the journalism profession proudest and honourable. you will always remain in to the World through your work.

  • Evelyn Miller

    My heart felt condolence to a brave man who wanted to make the world little different. Man like Chris lives very short span of life but remain in to the people’s heart for ever because they are exceptional. I am amateur photographer and he will be my inspiration for the bravery he had shown in his works. Rest in peace my unknown friend.