The Newsweek correspondent who helped the world understand Pakistan.
Ron Moreau, award-winning journalist and consulting editor of Newsweek Pakistan, passed away on May 13 from lung-transplant complications.
Until two years ago, Ron was stationed in Islamabad and covered Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India for Newsweek and the Daily Beast. He was a kindhearted, self-effacing man who wrote fairly, fearlessly and spoke truth to Pakistan, which sometimes mistook his prescience for pessimism. He and his wife, Lac, were friends of Pakistan. “We miss you all and Pakistan dearly,” he wrote to me a year ago, ahead of the general elections. “Here’s hoping that this election will bring more stability to our favorite country.”
Ron invited me to write for Newsweek in 2003. I took up his offer four years later, and was proud to have worked with him on several stories, including on Benazir Bhutto’s homecoming and assassination. He was instrumental in launching Newsweek Pakistan, the debut issue of which featured his essay following up on his viral 2007 story about Pakistan being the “most dangerous nation.” (My cover essay for that issue, “The World’s Bravest Nation,” was the result of our lengthy, passionate discussions on the country’s direction post-Musharraf.)
I received news of Ron’s passing early this morning through an email from his son, Dan. The email is reproduced below.
On Tuesday, May 13, Ron passed away in his sleep with his loving wife and daughter, Lac and Linh Anh, at his hospital bedside in Houston. As many of you know, Ron received a lung transplant a year and a half ago after a pulmonary fibrosis diagnosis. The lung transplant gave him another 18 months but ultimately it cost him his life as he succumbed to a variety of ailments associated with the transplant, including a weakened immune system, a collapsed lung in December which landed him back in the hospital, and kidney failure.
Ron wanted to pass, and it is our belief that he wanted to leave us and end his suffering. He did so quietly without wanting to burden his family any longer. He was a committed son, father, husband, and journalist. Ron spent his life doing what he loved, reporting and writing from Vietnam, Southeast Asia, Hong Kong, Latin America, Egypt, Lebanon, the Gulf, Paris, Miami, Bangkok, and most recently Pakistan and Afghanistan, where he and his dear colleague Sami Yousafzai broke many stories and won a Clarion Award in 2010 for magazine feature article.
Ron was born in 1945 in Los Angeles. A talented high school basketball player, he played for Hall of Fame coach Denny Crum at Pierce College before graduating from U.C. Berkeley. A conscientious objector to the war in Vietnam and, as his father called him “the best educated hippie in the country,” he joined the International Voluntary Services which sent him to the Vietnamese countryside where he taught English and began his lifelong love of journalism.
In 1972, he joined Newsweek and worked there for the next 40 years and, later, the Daily Beast. Ron was happiest when he was writing and reporting and traveling, and his disease unfortunately took that away from him. Per his final wishes, Ron will be cremated and his remains will be transferred to the Vietnamese Buddhist Center in Sugar Land.
Ron enjoyed your friendships immensely and he spoke to us fondly of you all. Thank you for your friendship to Ron over the years.
Dan & Liz, Lac and Linh Anh