This past weekend, Bay State residents learned of the passing of a gentleman who endured almost seven years of hell while in the hand of his captors in Beirut, Lebanon. We are referring to former Associated Press Bureau Chief, Terry Anderson who passed away at the age of 76 on Sunday at his home in Greenwood Lake, New York due to complications from heart failure..

Here is a story that aired on Buffalo based WGRZ-TV (channel 2, the city's NBC affiliate) announcing the grim news on Monday morning. Anderson spent most of his youth in neighboring Batavia, New York.

(Video clip courtesy of Buffalo, New York's NBC affiliate, WGRZ-TV, channel 2 which serves the Batavia area on cable)

He was captured by Islamist militants on March 16th 1985 after playing a game of tennis during a day off when gunmen dragged him into a car and sped away. His sister Peggy Say, who died in 2015, fiercely advocated for the release of her brother and his fellow captive during what became known as the Lebanon hostage crisis.

James Gifford-Mead
James Gifford-Mead

(Photo image of Anglican envoy, Terry Waite courtesy of

The majority of over 100 held captive between 1982 and 1992 were from the US and western Europe, including Church of England envoy Terry Waite who was taken hostage by the same group holding Anderson when negotiations to free him broke down in January of 1987. Waite was freed months earlier in 1991 after 1,763 days.

Both men endured being chained, beaten and threatened. Anderson spent much of his time blindfolded and was forced to sleep on a thin, dirty mattress on the floor later recalled that he "almost went insane", and credited his Catholic faith for saving him. His abductors demanded freedom for Shi'ite Muslims jailed in Kuwait for bomb attacks against the U.S. and French embassies

Terry Anderson Portraits
Getty Images

(Photo image of Terry Anderson during his days in Beirut prior to the ordeal, courtesy of


(Photo image of Sulome Anderson was made possible by an article published

He was eventually released in 1991 as the civil war ended - following 2,454 days in captivity which made him the longest-held Western hostage. His daughter, Sulome was born three months after he was take captive and was 6 years old upon release. She graciously followed her father's footsteps in journalism and commented on his ordeal on The Reuters web site:

"Though my father's life was marked by extreme suffering during his time as a hostage in captivity, he found a quiet, comfortable peace in recent years. I know he would choose to be remembered not by his very worst experience, but through his humanitarian work with the Vietnam Children's Fund, the Committee to Protect Journalists, homeless veterans and many other incredible causes,"

The family will take some time to organize a memorial. We'll keep you posted on these all-important details. Anderson is survived by his daughters, Sulome and Gabrielle, his sister Judy, his brother Jack, and his ex-wife Madeleine Bassil, whom Sulome Anderson called "his ex-wife and best friend." Peggy Say who was vocally instrumental in trying to free her brother during his nightmarish moments, passed away back in 2015.


("Den of Lions" book cover image courtesy of

Anderson wrote a book detailing his ordeal: "Den of Lions" as he survived degradation with dignity and even humor.  But his spirit soared beyond captivity, and he never gave up. Nor did those who loved him. After becoming a free man again, he penned the harrowing and poignant story of a hostage's survival and final triumph. This will definitely be purchased and proudly displayed in my book collection.

BOTTOM LINE:  During his frightening ordeal, my thoughts and prayers went out to Terry Anderson and his other captives who were subjected to constant suffering. Massachusetts should take time and reflect on what he went through in his life as he was taken too soon from us. He would have been a GREAT person to interview, but the opportunity was missed. His memory will ALWAYS remain eternal and everlasting.

(Featured image of Beirut, Lebanon skyline courtesy of

(Some information obtained in this article courtesy of

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