“Fearless” photojournalist Margaret Moth dies

Longtime photojournalist Margaret Moth died today after a three year long battle with colon cancer, CNN is reporting.

Moth, born Margaret Wilson in New Zealand, died this morning in hospice in Rochester, Minnesota. In 2009, she was the subject of a CNN documentary Fearless, about her lengthy and often dangerous career documenting breaking news and dangerous conflict around the world. Known for her distinctive looks and bravery, (Moth scarcely survived being shot in the face in Sarajevo in 1992, picking up where she left off as soon as she was physically able) Moth commented on her terminal illness in the documentary:

“Dying of cancer, I would have liked to think I’d have gone out with a bit more flair,” she said with a laugh last spring during an interview with a CNN documentary crew that had traveled to Texas, where she was visiting friends.

“The important thing is to know that you’ve lived your life to the fullest,” she said then, before tubing down a river in Austin, Texas; taking jaunts to Cape Cod and the Canadian Rockies; and piloting a houseboat up the Mississippi River — replete with beer and Cuban cigars. “I don’t know anyone who’s enjoyed life more.”

Normally impassive journalist Christiane Amanpour became emotional when discussing Moth’s impact on her own career and decision to push forward in dangerous situations:

“I said I’d go back, and I know to this day that if I hadn’t said yes then, I probably never would have gone back, and I never would have done this career. But I said yes because I couldn’t say no,” Amanpour remembered, fighting back tears. “We did the work for her. We did it because she was our champion, and we wanted to be her champion.”

Amanpour says that Moth’s life was one well lived:

She “led the complete life,” Amanpour said. “I don’t think Margaret could ever look back and say, ‘What if?’ She did it to the max, and she did it brilliantly. And she did it on her terms.”