The three-time Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist Michel du Cille, has died unexpectedly on Thursday of a heart attack while on assignment in Liberia. The Washington Post, where du Cille worked for more than twenty years, has reported that the photographer collapsed while returning on foot from a village in Bong County that has been affected by the recent Ebola outbreak in the country. The photographer collapsed at the scene and remained unconscious. du Cille was later taken to a nearby clinic where he experienced difficulty breathing.
The photographer was pronounced dead upon arriving at Phebe Hospital, which was a journey of two hours. It was later emphasised by a Washington Post spokeswoman that there was no connection between du Cille’s sudden death and the Ebola outbreak.
Michel du Cille was a Jamaican-born American photojournalist who won three Pulitzer Prizes. The photographer shared the 1986 Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography with fellow Miami Herald staff photographer Carol Guzy for their coverage of the November 1985 eruption of Colombia’s Nevado del Ruiz volcano. He later won the 1988 Feature Photography Pulitzer for a photo essay on crack cocaine addicts in a Miami housing project. As “du Cille” he shared the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service with Washington Post reporters Dana Priest and Anne Hull, for “exposing mistreatment of wounded veterans at Walter Reed Hospital, evoking a national outcry and producing reforms by federal officials.
Many of du Cille’s colleagues have expressed sadness at the loss of a friend and talented photographer.
“Michel died at 58 doing the work he loved,” Marty Baron, executive editor of the Washington Post, said in a memo for members of staff. “He was completely devoted to the story of Ebola, and he was determined to stay on the story despite its risks. That is the sort of courage and passion he displayed throughout his career.” Baron also called du Cille “one of the world’s great photographers.”