The family of American journalist James Foley , murdered by an Islamic State jihadist, on Sunday published his final letter home on the Free James Foley Facebook page. Islamic State guards confiscated letters Foley, 40, wrote during captivity, so he asked a fellow hostage to memorize the letter to pass on to his family.
That hostage, identified as Daniel Rye Ottosen, 25, a Danish photojournalist held with Foley for 13 months, called James Foley’s mother, Diane, shortly after he was released in June and dictated the letter to her over the phone.
In his last missive, Foley writes about his time in captivity, including techniques he and fellow hostages developed to pass the time and relieve the tension. He said he was looking forward to being freed, attending his sister Katie’s wedding and seeing his grandmother.
Foley went missing in northern Syria on Nov. 22, 2012. A video showing Foley’s murder at the hands of an Islamic State fighter was published on Tuesday and his death was confirmed by President Barack Obama on Wednesday. U.K. and U.S. intelligence are working to identify Foley’s killer, whose London accent suggests he is British.
A memorial mass was held for Foley in his hometown of Rochester, N.H., on Sunday, The Wall Street Journal reports. A vigil at Marquette University in Wisconsin, Foley’s alma mater, will be held on Tuesday. His family have set up a scholarship in his name at the university.
The full text of Foley’s final letter home is below.
Dear Family and Friends,
I remember going to the Mall with Dad, a very long bike ride with Mom. I remember so many great family times that take me away from this prison. Dreams of family and friends take me away and happiness fills my heart.
I know you are thinking of me and praying for me. And I am so thankful. I feel you all especially when I pray. I pray for you to stay strong and to believe. I really feel I can touch you even in this darkness when I pray.
Eighteen of us have been held together in one cell, which has helped me. We have had each other to have endless long conversations about movies, trivia, sports. We have played games made up of scraps found in our cell…we have found ways to play checkers, Chess, and Risk… and have had tournaments of competition, spending some days preparing strategies for the next day’s game or lecture. The games and teaching each other have helped the time pass. They have been a huge help. We repeat stories and laugh to break the tension.
I have had weak and strong days. We are so grateful when anyone is freed; but of course, yearn for our own freedom. We try to encourage each other and share strength. We are being fed better now and daily. We have tea, occasional coffee. I have regained most of my weight lost last year.
I think a lot about my brothers and sister. I remember playing Werewolf in the dark with Michael and so many other adventures. I think of chasing Mattie and T around the kitchen counter. It makes me happy to think of them. If there is any money left in my bank account, I want it to go to Michael and Matthew. I am so proud of you, Michael and thankful to you for happy childhood memories and to you and Kristie for happy adult ones.
And big John, how I enjoyed visiting you and Cress in Germany. Thank you for welcoming me. I think a lot about RoRo and try to imagine what Jack is like. I hope he has RoRo’s personality!
And Mark… so proud of you too Bro. I think of you on the West coast and hope you are doing some snowboarding and camping, I especially remember us going to the Comedy Club in Boston together and our big hug after. The special moments keep me hopeful.
Katie, so very proud of you. You are the strongest and best of us all!! I think of you working so hard, helping people as a nurse. I am so glad we texted just before I was captured. I pray I can come to your wedding…. now I am sounding like Grammy!!
Grammy, please take your medicine, take walks and keep dancing. I plan to take you out to Margarita’s when I get home. Stay strong because I am going to need your help to reclaim my life.