The journalism world is mourning Anthony Shadid, the Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign correspondent who died in Syria Thursday of an apparent asthma attack at the age of 43. Shadid devoted his life to covering war-torn areas of the globe, but no matter where he roamed, he remained a loyal fan of his beloved Green Bay Packers.
Last year, just before the Packers won the Super Bowl, Shadid penned a piece for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about the lengths he had gone to to remain in touch with his favorite team in all corners of the world.
“In 1995, I was sent to Cairo as a foreign correspondent,” Shadid wrote. “The only satellite phones then were the size of steamer trunks, and I couldn’t manage to take that home with me. So any time the Packers played a night game – those games, for some reason, broadcast on expensive satellite channels available in five-star hotels in the Middle East – I plopped down a few hundred dollars for a room at the Marriott. It was still too little Packers for me.”
Shadid, whose book Night Draws Near is the best thing I’ve read about the Iraq war, was resourceful enough to stay on top of NFL news in any situation, and he called tickets to a game the best perk of being a Pulitzer Prize winner.
“Budgetary constraints aside, I listened to every game in Baghdad,” Shadid wrote. “When I won the Pulitzer Prize in 2004, my editor at the Post, Phil Bennett, gave me front-row tickets to a game with the Washington Redskins. Forget the Pulitzer! I’m going to the game! I could have written another book if I had somehow managed not to spend countless hours reading about the Packers online.”
Shadid is survived by his foreign-born wife, Nada, who had never heard of the Packers before meeting him but became a fan, and their two children.