NPR photojournalist David Gilkey, who won wide acclaim for his work chronicling major conflicts and disasters around the world, died Sunday in Afghanistan after the Afghan unit he was traveling with was hit by rocket-propelled grenades in an apparent ambush. NPR's Afghan interpreter, Zabihullah Tamanna, was also killed in the attack, as was Afghan soldier at the wheel of their vehicle. Gilkey was 50 years old, Tamanna 38.
NPR described Gilkey's body of work in its release confirming his death:
It is fair to say that David witnessed some of humanity's most challenging moments: He covered wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He covered the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. He covered the end of the apartheid regime in South Africa. He covered the devastating earthquake in Haiti, famine in Somalia, and most recently the Ebola epidemic in Liberia.
Gilkey previously worked for the Detroit Free Press, and was considered one of the country's best photojournalists in his time there, and was part of the team that won the paper an Emmy for Outstanding Current News Coverage for Broadband for the video series "Michigan Marines: Band of Brothers."
He also won a George Polk award for NPR in 2010, and the White House Photographers Association named him Still Photographer of the Year in 2011.
Gilkey was the first non-military U.S. journalist to die in Afghanistan since the latest conflict there began in 2001.