Michel du Cille was a three-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize.

Story highlights

Michel du Cille, 58, was a 26-year veteran of The Washington Post

He died in Libera on assignment covering Ebola outbreak

He "was one of the people who made the Post the Post," colleague tweets

CNN  — 

Legendary photographer Michel du Cille, a 26-year veteran of The Washington Post, unexpectedly died on Thursday while on assignment in Liberia.

The Post said du Cille, 58, collapsed “during a strenuous hike on the way back from a village” affected by the African country’s Ebola outbreak. He was traveling with Post correspondent Justin Jouvenal.

“He remained unconscious, and was taken to a nearby clinic, where he had difficulty breathing,” the Post said. “He was then transported to Phebe hospital, two hours away, where he was declared dead by doctors.”

The news stunned many staffers at the Post, where du Cille was respected and beloved. He was a three-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the highest honor in print journalism. Post executive editor Marty Baron called du Cille “one of the world’s great photographers.”

Du Cille’s wife, Nikki Kahn, also is a photographer.

“Michel du Cille was one of the people who made the Post the Post,” the newspaper’s senior politics editor Steven Ginsberg wrote on Twitter.

“We lost one of our heroes today,” wrote Emilio Garcia-Ruiz, the Post’s managing editor for digital.

Lenny Bernstein, who traveled with du Cille on an Ebola reporting trip in September, wrote, “An indescribable loss for us and the people of Africa you brought into our homes with your photos.”

According to the Post, du Cille had taken a four-week break and had gotten back to Liberia on Tuesday.

“Michel died at 58 doing the work he loved,” Baron said in a memorandum to staffers. “He was completely devoted to the story of Ebola, and he was determined to stay on the story despite its risks. That is the sort of courage and passion he displayed throughout his career.”

A Post spokeswoman said there was no connection between du Cille’s death and the Ebola outbreak in Liberia.

People we’ve lost in 2014