BEIRUT: Leading Lebanese caricaturist Pierre Sadek died Wednesday after a long struggle with a chronic illness at the age of 76.
Sadek passed away at St. George Hospital in Ashrafieh Wednesday morning.
He was largely known for his caricatures that were broadcasted on LBCI worldwide following the nightly news bulletin, and began his career drawing political satire after he graduated from the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts.
He had also worked for An-Nahar for almost 40 years.
Although he was fired from the local daily, Sadek maintained a close relationship with the newspaper’s former Editor-in-Chief, Ghassan Tueni.
Sadek was first decorated with the National Order of Cedars with the title of Knight during President Suleiman Franjieh’s mandate, and the title of Officer by President Elias Hrawi and former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
He won the Saeed Aqel Award twice and obtained various awards both locally and abroad, the latest of which was the Lyon’s prize in 2000.
He held several exhibitions in Lebanon and other countries, with his latest being in Washington DC.
Sadek was the writer of four books and was working on a collection of his work over the span of 50 years.
Hours after news of Sadek's passing surfaced, officials and politicians expressed condolences and described the artist as a national icon as they praised his lasting mark on political satire.
Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam phoned Sadek's family and offered his condolences.
Salam said the artist founded the school of political satire which expressed the stances of the public as well as that of politicians and officials "in drawings that summed up long political articles."
"He was able to draw facial expressions regardless of how much they were hidden behind political masks as he was a believer in a unified Lebanon," Salam said in a statement.
Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri said Sadek's passing was a "big loss for Lebanon and its journalism [sector]".
"Pierre Sadek passed away, the brush that drew for the freedom of Lebanon and the Arabs for over half a century," Hariri said, adding that Sadek dedicated his "mind, heart and pen to the principles of loyalty, justice and democracy."
The head of the Lebanese Forces, Samir Geagea, expressed his condolences to Sadek's family on behalf of his party and his wife, MP Strida Geagea. Geagea said Sadek made his mark in history.
"We will never forget his courageous stances during the era of tutelage ... Pierre Sadek represented public opinion and its conscience as he used to draw our politics critically, but with love," he said.