Father of British hostage John Cantlie dies

Paul Cantlie died on Thursday aged 80 from “complications following pneumonia”

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The father of British photojournalist John Cantlie has died, a fortnight after making a impassioned appeal to Islamic State militants to release his son, the family said on Wednesday.

Paul Cantlie died on Thursday aged 80 from “complications following pneumonia”, the family said in a statement.

A retired naval architect, Paul had earlier this month recorded a video plea from his hospital bed for IS to release his son.

“Mr Cantlie’s physical strength had been waning since the kidnap of his younger son, John Cantlie, nearly two years ago,” the family said in a statement.

“Many in the country will recall the recent broadcast from his hospital bed, when so demonstrably ill, but determined that his journalist son John should hear from his father ‘how very proud I am of him’.”

John Cantlie’s sister Jessica last week begged IS to make contact, saying that previous communication with the group had broken down.

“Paul died not knowing whether John’s captors had received any of the messages he had sent to them. The failure of communication to date has inevitably led to a terrible sense of abandonment,” the statement said.

It noted that efforts had been made to reach John Cantlie to tell him of his father’s death before making it public.

The 43-year-old journalist has worked for publications including The Sunday Times and The Sunday Telegraph newspapers, as well as Agence France-Presse.

Kidnapped in Syria in 2012, Cantlie has recently appeared in a series of propaganda videos released by the extremist group, in which he wears an orange jumpsuit and reads a script criticising Western governments.

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