According to ITN, Rado apparently fell from the roof of the Abu Sanaa hotel in Sulaymaniyah, northern Iraq, where he was staying with several other journalists while on assignment in the region. A witness saw him walking up to the roof alone, but did not see what occurred after that.
Rado was discovered in the hotel parking lot with serious head injuries, and was given first aid treatment before being taken to the local Forensic Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Rado had spent the last few weeks reporting for Channel 4 News on the movements of coalition troops and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in Sulaymanihah. In a statement, ITN said there did not seem to be any connection between Rado’s death and military action. While coalition troops have moved to the outskirts of the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, the front lines of fighting were some 50 miles from Rado’s hotel.
Jim Gray, editor of Channel 4 News said, “Gaby was truly a unique figure in television journalism, and his reporting and analysis of some of the world’s most tumultuous events was always imbued with his uniquely cultured sensibility and perception.”
Channel 4 Chief Executive Mark Thompson said, “We are deeply shocked and saddened by the news of Gaby’s death. We are very concerned for his family and friends at this point.”
Rado’s ITN reports have been a part of The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer’s international coverage for over a decade.
The Budapest-born journalist joined ITN in 1985 as a writer before becoming a Channel 4 News reporter in 1988.
Rado specialized in foreign affairs coverage for Channel 4, and was on the scene for many of the recent flash points across the globe, including the war in Bosnia, the Kosovo conflict, the breakup of the Soviet Union and the conflict in Afghanistan.
He won three Amnesty International awards for his reporting, including one he co-won in 1996 for a series of reports on Srebrenica, where Bosnian Serb forces killed 8,000 Muslims in July 1995.
Rado, 48, was married to his second wife, Dessa. He and his first wife, Carol Rado, have two children.
The correspondent is the second ITN journalist to die in Iraq this month. His fellow reporter, Terry Lloyd, was killed in Iraq earlier this month after coming under fire. Two of his crew are still missing, according to ITN.
Stewart Purvis, ITN editor-in-chief, said the organization is still trying to recover Lloyd’s missing crew members while dealing with the Rado tragedy.
“We will make every effort to bring his body home whilst we also continue to try to recover from Basra the body of ITV News correspondent,Terry Lloyd, and to search for the missing ITV News crew members Fred Nerac and Hussein Osman.”