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Veteran Middle East journalist Robert Fisk dies aged 74

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Robert Fisk, a veteran British foreign correspondent who covered the Middle East, died on Sunday aged 74.

He died in Dublin's St Vincent's University Hospital from a suspected stroke.

Fisk had a long career as a foreign correspondent, much of which was spent covering the Middle East after he moved to Beirut as The Times Middle East correspondent in 1976.

While based in Beirut, Fisk covered the Lebanese civil war, later writing his account in the epic “Pity the Nation: Lebanon at War.”

He covered key events in the 1970s and 1980s including the Iranian revolution and the subsequent Iran-Iraq War. He then joined The Independent, who he worked for until his death, and was one of the only Western journalists to interview al-Qaeda's leader Osama bin Laden in the 1990s, before bin Laden later went on to execute the September 11, 2001 attacks against the US.

Outside of the Middle East, Fisk also covered The Troubles in Belfast early in his career, and later the Bosnian and Kosovan wars in the Balkans.

Fisk was a controversial figure who has been accused of being an apologist for the regime of Bashar al-Assad, including by casting doubt on whether the regime carried out chemical attacks against civilians.

In 2005, the New York Times described him as “probably the most famous foreign correspondent in Britain.” He received the Press Awards Foreign Reporter of the Year seven times.

“Fearless, uncompromising, determined and utterly committed to uncovering the truth and reality at all costs, Robert Fisk was the greatest journalist of his generation. The fire he lit at The Independent will burn on,” wrote The Independent managing director Christian Broughton in the paper.

Fisk was born in Kent, England, but later acquired Irish citizenship. He married fellow journalist Lara Marlowe in 1994, but they divorced in 2006. He had no children.

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