Paul Cantlie, the father of British hostage John Cantlie who is being held by militant group Islamic State (ISIS), has died, his family have said.
Paul Cantlie, 80, recorded a video message from his hospital bed earlier this month, urging those holding John Cantlie to release him.
A family statement said Paul Cantlie had died from “complications following pneumonia” on October 16.
Journalist John Cantlie, who was kidnapped in Syria in 2012, has appeared in a series of ISIS videos.
In a statement, Paul Cantlie’s family said: “Paul died not knowing whether John’s captors had received any of the messages he had sent to them.
Paul Cantlie recorded a video message from his hospital bed earlier urging ISIS militants to release John Cantlie
“The failure of communication to date has inevitably led to a terrible sense of abandonment, particularly for John’s father, with the family feeling ignored.”
The statement also said the family had been urgently trying to contact John Cantlie in the last few days to let him know of his father’s death ahead of the news being made public.
“Many in the country will recall the recent broadcast from his [Paul’s] hospital bed, when so demonstrably ill, but determined that his journalist son John should hear from his father <<how very proud I am of him>>,” the family said.
Since August, ISIS has killed four Western hostages – US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning.
The group, also known as ISIL, has taken control of large areas of Syria and Iraq and declared a caliphate.
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In a recent video, John Cantlie’s father, Paul Cantlie, has appealed for the British hostage release.
Journalist John Cantlie, who was kidnapped in Syria in 2012 and is being held by Islamic State (ISIS) militants, has so far appeared in three videos.
From hospital, Paul Cantlie said he felt “great relief” seeing his son for the first time in two years, but also experienced “despair and helplessness”.
His family has been trying to deliver an “important message” to ISIS, Paul Cantlie added.
The videos have all followed the same format, with John Cantlie, who is originally from Hampshire, appearing sitting at a desk against a black backdrop to address the camera.
In the most recent, released earlier this week, John Cantlie delivered a scripted message mocking the US strategy of using air strikes combined with local ground forces.
At the end of the five-and-a-half minute film, John Cantlie indicated there will be further messages.
There are no signs of violence in the videos but, in the first, John Cantlie made clear he was speaking as a prisoner whose life was in danger.
Paul Cantlie said: “For the first time in almost two years, we saw John when he made a televised broadcast during which he told viewers that he was still a prisoner of the Islamic State and that maybe he will live and maybe he will die.
“As a family we experienced great relief seeing and hearing John and knowing that he is alive. This was followed by the feeling of despair and helplessness.”
John Cantlie’s father, Paul Cantlie, has appealed for the British hostage release from his hospital bed
Paul Cantlie said when his son was captured in northern Syria while working as a photojournalist, he was “seeking out the true story of the suffering of the Syrian people”.
“John felt a strong need to help in the best way that he could,” he said.
“As an impartial and respected journalist he knew that he could make a difference by acting as a platform for the world to listen to and take notice, using his journalistic skills for the good of the people, as a friend and as a civilian.”
The Cantlie family is trying to communicate with ISIS “to deliver an important message regarding John” but has yet to receive a response, said his father.
In a direct message to the militants, Paul Cantlie said: “To those holding John: please know that he is a good man, he sought only to help the Syrian people and I ask you from all that is sacred, to help us and allow him to return home safely to those he loves and who love him.”
He said his family had received “many messages” of support.
“Speaking entirely for myself, this is not how I had imagined I would be passing my 81st year,” he added.
“I want John to know how very proud I am of him. I can think of no greater joy than seeing my dear son released and allowed to return home to us.”
John Cantlie – an experienced journalist and photographer – has twice been held captive in neighboring Syria.
He was kidnapped in July 2012, and handcuffed and blindfolded for a week, but escaped with the help from the Free Syrian Army.
A second kidnap happened when he returned to Syria towards the end of 2012.
ISIS has taken control of large areas of Syria and Iraq and declared a caliphate.
Since August, the Islamist group has killed three Western hostages – US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and British aid worker David Haines. They have also threatened to kill British hostage Alan Henning.
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