Dominic Di-Natale was suffering from post-traumatic stress and recurring seizures in the months leading up to his suicide earlier this month. Di-Natale covered the Middle East for Fox News, including its war zones, starting in 2007. The New York Times has uncovered a letter Di-Natale sent to a close friend. The letter sheds some light on Di-Natale’s state of mind at the time of his death.
Times editorial writer Ernesto Londono, who knew D-Natale personally, writes:
There’s an addictive aspect to covering war. It’s partly the adrenaline rush and partly a sense that you’re doing consequential work. But to a large extent, war became a lure to many of us because of the magnificent camaraderie that dark, dangerous places can create. In war zones, our vulnerability makes it easy to form strong, intimate bonds with colleagues quickly. The loneliness many of us felt when we returned home was jarring.
Di-Natale explained in the letter that his career, “afforded me professional integrity and social validity in others’ eyes. I had absolutely none prior to going to war. I wasn’t even a real man until then.”
The Times also reveals that Di-Natale sent a text message, instructing a friend where authorities could find his body. “I cannot live and diminish with this illness,” he wrote. “To my father, to you and to those I have hurt and inconvenienced, I am so very, very sorry.”