Taker of iconic Vietnam War photo dies

Monday, September 20, 2004

NEW YORK -- Eddie Adams, a photojournalist whose half-century of arresting work was defined by a single frame -- a Pulitzer Prize-winning Associated Press photo of a communist guerrilla being executed in a Saigon street during the Vietnam War -- died Sunday. He was 71.

Adams died at his Manhattan home from complications of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease.

In addition to his photographs of 13 wars, Adams' images of politics, fashion and show business appeared on countless magazine covers and in newspapers around the world.

But fame resulted from a single photo taken Feb. 1, 1968, the second day of the communists' Tet Offensive. South Vietnam's police chief, Lt. Col. Nguyen Ngoc Loan, wordlessly drew a pistol and shot a Viet Cong captive in the head.

In later years, Adams felt the photo unfairly maligned Loan.

"The guy was a hero," Adams said, recalling Loan's explanation that the man he executed was a Viet Cong captain, responsible for murdering the family of Loan's closest aide a few hours earlier.

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