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Longtime VOA Broadcaster Ferdinand Ferella Dies

Ferdinand Ferella conducting an interview from a VOA studio, (File).

Ferdinand Ferella conducting an interview from a VOA studio, (File).

A respected member of the VOA team has passed away after a battle with lung cancer.

Ferdinand Ferella, a broadcaster and senior editor with VOA's French-to-Africa Service, died Tuesday morning at Washington's George Washington University Hospital.

Ferella, who was 59, joined VOA a quarter-century ago in 1986. Longtime listeners are familiar with his first-hand coverage of some of the continent's biggest stories since then, including the Burundi civil war, the civil wars in the Republic of Congo, and the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

He was perhaps best known in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where he covered the civil wars of the late 1990s and returned in 2006 to cover the DRC's first democratic elections.

Gwen Dillard, the director of VOA's Africa Division, says Ferella's stature was so great in the DRC that some journalists there named their sons after him.

Ferella was born in Rouen, France, and was a graduate of the University of Montreal in Canada.

Dillard says Ferella will be "hugely missed as a colleague and a friend."