Vann Nath in coma

picture from

The terrible news about Vann Nath – survivor of S-21/Tuol Sleng, painter, and incredibly gracious man – is that he apparently had a heart attack on Friday, has slipped into a coma, and is unlikely to awaken.  This is not unexpected news – he’s been suffering from poor health for a long time now – but it is terribly sad nonetheless. [Phnom Penh Post story]. La cercle des amis de Vann Nath passed on this note from Cambodia’s greatest filmmaker, Rithy Panh (English version below):

Dear Friends,

I would like to share with you these very sad news about Vann Nath. He had a heart attack during Friday night in Phnom Penh. He lost conscience and did not wake up till now. He went into a cerebral coma. He is fighting and his family with him but the doctors have little hope regarding his chance to come to back to us. I will let you know if anything happens.

Sincerely, Rithy Panh

May his passing be peaceful and free of pain, and may those who love him find their way through the loss.

Update 31 August 2011

It appears that the world is now awaiting Vann Nath’s passing. “Tuol Sleng Survivor on Death Bed,” in the Phnom Penh Post.

Update 5 September 2011

Mr. Vann Nath has passed on. Rest In Peace.

Update 12 September 2011

Director, and friend of Mr. Vann Nath, Rithy Panh created a lovely eulogy for his funeral.

You left too early.
We know of some thick-skinned bastards who are indestructible
YOU knew how to confront them.
We know of some hypocrites who have a ready tongue and insult memory with their indecent words.
YOU knew how to respond to them.

You can read the whole thing here.


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