Veteran Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk dies aged 74

The British journalist, who spent decades covering the region, died from a suspected stroke on Friday

epa08792182 (FILE) - Journalist Robert Fisk poses for a photograph in Sydney, Australia, 06 March 2006 (Reissued 01 November 2020). According to news reports on 01 November 2020, British Middle East news journalist and author Robert Fisk, died at the age of 74.  EPA/MICK TSIKAS AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT *** Local Caption *** 00660838

Veteran British foreign correspondent Robert Fisk, who spent much of his career covering the Middle East, has died at the age of 74.

Fisk is suspected to have suffered a stroke, and died shortly after being admitted to St Vincent's hospital in Dublin, where he lived, on Friday, October 30, the Irish Times reported.

Throughout his career, Fisk, who was The Independent's Middle East correspondent, won numerous awards for his coverage of the region, including the Orwell Prize for journalism and wins at the British Press Awards including international reporter of the year and foreign reporter of the year.

Described by The New York Times in 2005 as "probably the most famous foreign correspondent in Britain", Fisk started his career in the early 1970s working for the Sunday Express, before becoming Belfast correspondent for the London Times during the height of the Troubles in Northern Ireland between 1972 and 1975.

In 1976 he moved to Beirut to begin his career as a Middle East reporter. In the years that followed, he covered the Lebanese civil war, the Iranian revolution, the Iran-Iraq war and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. He joined The Independent in 1989, and remained on staff there until the time of his death.

epa08792183 (FILE) - British Middle East news journalist, Robert Fisk, during signing the Arabic version of his new book 'The Great War for Civilisation: the Conquest of the Middle East', in the Arab Book Exhibition in Beirut, Lebanon, 21 April 2007 (Reissued 01 November 2020). According to news reports on 01 November 2020, British Middle East news journalist and author Robert Fisk, died at the age of 74.  EPA/WAEL HAMZEH

Fisk was a Arabic speaker, which gave him access to a number of regional figures above other western journalists. During the 1990s, he interviewed Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden three times, describing him during their first meeting in 1993 as a "shy man".

Fisk's career was not without controversy, however. He was known for his criticism of the US and Israel, and often spoke out over western foreign policy, including in his 2005 book The Great War for Civilisation - The Conquest of the Middle East. He was also criticised for his coverage of Syria, which many deemed to be sympathetic of Assad.

The journalist was the subject of a documentary by Canadian filmmaker Yung Chang, released earlier this year, that had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. The documentary, This is Not a Movie, follows Fisk as he reports on the region.

"Walking around Beirut, I realised Fisk is the kind of guy for whom a street is not a street, it is a place of history," Chang told The National in March. "Where history intertwines with the present is very consciously part of the way Robert thinks and that informed the structure of the film."

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