Dith Pran, 1942-2008

nuncscio_539w.jpg Dith Pran, Cambodian journalist and inspiration for the film The Killing Fields, has died of cancer. He was 65.

In 1975, Dith worked as a translator for NYT reporter Sydney Schanberg during Cambodia's slide into Khmer Rouge madness. After the fall of Phnom PenhSchanberg was unable to get Dith out of the country. After four years of living with the brutal communist regime, he managed to escape after an incredible cross country journey. His story inspired the Oscar-winning movie, named after the term he coined for the mass graves he witnessed while fleeing through Cambodia.

Dith was a both a courageous journalist and human being. If you haven't seen it, I really recommend checking out The Killing Fields. It's one of my favourite films, a moving chronicle of a horrible time and the extraordinary people who witnessed it.

UPDATE: Check out Dith Pran's 'Video Obit' at the NYT.

Photo: Dith Pran and his wife Ser Moeun.