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Margaret Moth, Fearless CNN Photojournalist, Passes Away

Margaret Moth, an intrepid CNN photojournalist survived some of the harshest warzones on earth only to lose a three-year battle with cancer over the weekend.

A sniper shot her in the face in Sarajevo in 1992. After multiple reconstructive surgeries, she returned to the battlefield. Her fearlessness, as told by her friends and colleagues, in this CNN.com report:

When other photojournalists dived behind cars as militiamen opened fire on protesters in Tbilisi, Georgia, she stood her ground and kept her camera running. As a band of medical professionals defied Israeli tanks and armored vehicles, marching into then-Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat’s compound in the West Bank, she got in the middle of the group, joined them and helped nab an exclusive interview.

Born in New Zealand, Moth came to the U.S. in 1983 and worked for KHOU in Houston. She moved to CNN in 1990. Moth died early Sunday in Rochester, Minnesota. She was 59.

“Dying of cancer, I would have liked to think I’d have gone out with a bit more flair,” she said last spring during an interview with a CNN documentary crew. “The important thing is to know that you’ve lived your life to the fullest.”

A note from CNN International’s SVP of newsgathering, Parisa Khosravi, after the jump: “Heaven is even more fun, now that Margaret has arrived.” Also, thoughts from her colleague, Christiane Amanpour
Margaret Moth, an intrepid CNN photojournalist survived some of the harshest warzones on earth only to lose a three-year battle with cancer over the weekend.

A sniper shot her in the face in Sarajevo in 1992. After multiple reconstructive surgeries, she returned to the battlefield. Her fearlessness, as told by her friends and colleagues, in this CNN.com report:

When other photojournalists dived behind cars as militiamen opened fire on protesters in Tbilisi, Georgia, she stood her ground and kept her camera running. As a band of medical professionals defied Israeli tanks and armored vehicles, marching into then-Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat’s compound in the West Bank, she got in the middle of the group, joined them and helped nab an exclusive interview.

Born in New Zealand, Moth came to the U.S. in 1983 and worked for KHOU in Houston. She moved to CNN in 1990. Moth died early Sunday in Rochester, Minnesota. She was 59.

“Dying of cancer, I would have liked to think I’d have gone out with a bit more flair,” she said last spring during an interview with a CNN documentary crew. “The important thing is to know that you’ve lived your life to the fullest.”

A note from CNN International’s SVP of newsgathering, Parisa Khosravi, after the jump: “Heaven is even more fun, now that Margaret has arrived.” Also, thoughts from her colleague, Christiane Amanpour


Our dear friend and colleague, Margaret Moth has passed.

For those of us lucky enough to have known and worked with Margaret, she was truly one of a kind. She lived her life full-on without holding back.

For nearly two decades, Margaret travelled the world for CNN and covered every warzone and major story. Margaret was shot in the face by a sniper in Sarajevo in 1992, the doctors were able to save her life and we medivacd her to the States. I remember being there when she arrived at the Mayo Clinic, her head was all bandaged up and she could not speak, but she was fully alert. I gave her a pen and paper and she jokingly wrote: “I want to go back to Sarajevo to look for my teeth”. True to her word, she went back to Bosnia when the doctors cleared her nearly a year later, and continued to volunteer for the toughest assignments.

She did not complain of the incredible physical pain and health challenges that she faced in all the years since the attack. She loved life and had no regrets.

We recently did a documentary on Margaret’s life, if you have not seen it, check it out on CNN.com; you will be amazed and inspired.

Margaret’s dear friend and colleague, actually more like a brother, Joe Duran was at her bedside when she passed away early this morning in Rochester. Margaret’s ashes will be taken back to her home in Istanbul, this was her wish.

Margaret did not fear death, she saw it as “the next adventure”. Margaret loved animals and outside her hospice window this morning, a dear was prancing about, as if ready to take her beautiful spirit on her new adventure.

Heaven is even more fun, now that Margaret has arrived.

With the fondest memories and utmost respect,

Parisa.

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Our dear friend and colleague, Margaret Moth has passed.

For those of us lucky enough to have known and worked with Margaret, she was truly one of a kind. She lived her life full-on without holding back.

For nearly two decades, Margaret travelled the world for CNN and covered every warzone and major story. Margaret was shot in the face by a sniper in Sarajevo in 1992, the doctors were able to save her life and we medivacd her to the States. I remember being there when she arrived at the Mayo Clinic, her head was all bandaged up and she could not speak, but she was fully alert. I gave her a pen and paper and she jokingly wrote: “I want to go back to Sarajevo to look for my teeth”. True to her word, she went back to Bosnia when the doctors cleared her nearly a year later, and continued to volunteer for the toughest assignments.

She did not complain of the incredible physical pain and health challenges that she faced in all the years since the attack. She loved life and had no regrets.

We recently did a documentary on Margaret’s life, if you have not seen it, check it out on CNN.com; you will be amazed and inspired.

Margaret’s dear friend and colleague, actually more like a brother, Joe Duran was at her bedside when she passed away early this morning in Rochester. Margaret’s ashes will be taken back to her home in Istanbul, this was her wish.

Margaret did not fear death, she saw it as “the next adventure”. Margaret loved animals and outside her hospice window this morning, a dear was prancing about, as if ready to take her beautiful spirit on her new adventure.

Heaven is even more fun, now that Margaret has arrived.

With the fondest memories and utmost respect,

Parisa.

—————
From Christiane Amanpour CNN’s chief international correspondent

A Law and a Life Unto Herself

Margaret was a law and a life unto herself. Before I actually worked with her I was quite intimidated by the idea of Margaret MOTH! The woman who had changed her name to that of a small plane, who even leapt out of them! The woman who wore black clothes and heavy black eye make-up, who was Goth before it was cool. The woman, who I discovered under siege in Sarajevo, wore her heavy black boots to bed…just so she could be ready if the shelling started.

Bosnia, summer 1992, was my first assignment with Margaret, the latest in a string of distinguished women who changed my life on and off the road. She was wonderful, funny, hardworking, brave, tireless, and fiercely private.

After a few weeks there, I had taken a break. I think it was July 14th, I remember leaving her at the Sarajevo airport shooting a Bastille Day celebration day for the French UNPROFOR troops. I got on a plane to see my family. She didn’t want to take a break, she wanted to stay on the next rotation. Three or four days after I left she was shot in the face.

I remember flying off to the Mayo Clinic to visit her with Parisa Khosravi. I remember walking down the corridor to her room. Luckily there was a picture of her on the door because laying in bed, her face swollen and swathed in bandages she was unrecognizable except for her hands. It’s the only way I knew it was her. At some point that very day, I had to make a decision to go back to Sarajevo or not. The International Desk called me from Atlanta and asked whether I would go back. I looked at her in bed…holding back tears…I quickly said yes into the telephone. I think I knew if I didn’t say yes then, I might never go back.

She was remarkable. She came back to the battle zones as soon as she could. She endured all those endless surgeries, she had to learn to eat and drink and talk again. She had to endure people’s embarrassed, curious stares. She got Hepatitis C from the initial blood transfusion in Sarajevo that saved her life. And later she got cancer, fought the good fight for longer than anyone could imagine, and died. Life battered and brutalized her, but she remained unbowed and happy. She was a survivor, a unique soul and she bore all that came her way with a remarkable sense of calm and equanimity. She loved music, antiques and animals. She taught us so much about what it means to be a real person, the consummate professional.
She deserves to finally rest in peace. Now she can.

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