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Steve Fainaru, a former Post reporter who worked extensively with Shadid in Iraq and also won a Pulitzer for his own work, recalled him as “the best journalist I’d ever seen — without any question.”

“He wrote poetry on deadline,” Fainaru said. “What made him so great as a journalist [was that] he was able to somehow find compassion and empathy in everything he touched and wrote about.”

Jill Abramson, the executive editor, informed the newspaper’s staff Thursday evening in an e-mail. “Anthony died as he lived — determined to bear witness to the transformation sweeping the Middle East and to testify to the suffering of people caught between government oppression and opposition forces,” she wrote.