Gaby Rado, award-winning foreign affairs specialist for the U.K.’s Channel 4 News, died in a fall March 30 in Iraq. He was 48.
He apparently fell from the roof of his hotel in Sulaimaniya, a town in the Kurdish-controlled area of northern Iraq, and was pronounced dead at a local hospital. Police are investigating. There was no fighting in the area and his death is not thought to be related to the war.
Rado’s parents brought him from his native Budapest, Hungary to England before he was 8. He studied English at Christ’s College, Cambridge, and began his journalism career in 1976.
After moving to the BBC, where he learned the TV news biz, he joined ITN News as a writer in 1985, then moved to Channel 4 three years later. He quickly found himself covering the destruction of the Berlin Wall and went on to assignments in many of the world’s hotspots: Russia, Yugoslavia, Israel, Afghanistan, and ultimately Iraq followed.
For most of the 1990s he reported on Yugoslavia and the Balkans, compiling an extraordinary track record there. In March 1993 he reported exclusively on how all the mosques in the Bosnian town of Bijelina had been dynamited in one night by a Serb paramilitary group. Four years later he was the only foreign reporter at the Albanian uprising which led within weeks to the overthrow of the government. He was also among the first correspondents to report the outbreak of war on Afghanistan in 2001.
Rado won three Amnesty International Awards and his reporting contributed to many other awards that Channel 4 News collected. But he regarded his interview last year of the Rolling Stones’ Charlie Watts as a personal highlight.
He is survived by his second wife, Dessa, his ex-wife Carol and two sons.