Oldest Son of Hostage Dies
LANSDALE, Pa. (AP) _ Joseph Cicippio Jr., whose father was kidnapped in Lebanon more than four years ago, died over the weekend of a heart attack, the third member of the hostage’s family to die during his captivity.
Cicippio, 35, was taken by ambulance from his home to North Penn Hospital before dawn Sunday, where efforts to revive him failed, said Gerard Gribbon, vice president for administration at the hospital.
The death came as a shock to a family that has had to deal with the strain of years of imprisonment of Joseph Cicippio Sr., 60, and threats by his kidnappers.
″This is a very, very difficult time for all of us,″ said Thomas Cicippio, brother to Joseph Cicippio Sr. ″This is shocking news. It’s hard to say anything in reference to it.″
In August 1989, the kidnappers sentenced Cicippio to death in retaliation for Israel’s abduction of a Lebanese Shiite cleric. They released videotapes of Cicippio pleading for his life and finally announced a reprieve.
Since then, Thomas Cicippio said, the family has heard nothing. ″We have no idea what’s going on at the present time.″
He said he understands that the Lebanese extremists holding American hostages do receive news about their captives. ″We have no way of knowing if they will let Joseph know,″ he said.
Joseph Cicippio Jr. worked as director of installation for SMS Co., a computer time-sharing service for medical offices in King of Prussia in suburban Philadelphia.
Besides his father, he is survived by his mother, five brothers, a sister, his wife, and a son and a daughter. His son, Michael, 3, was born while his grandfather was a hostage.
Joseph Cicippio Sr., a former resident of Norristown, was taken hostage in Beirut on Sept. 12, 1986. His sister, Rose Abell, 73, died of cancer months after his kidnapping. Her husband, Bill, 80, died last year of a heart attack.
Cicippio was on his way to work as acting comptroller at the American University of Beirut when the pro-Iranian Revolutionary Justice Organization abducted him.
Thomas Cicippio displays signs on his front lawn listing the number of days Americans have been held hostage in Lebanon. Monday was Day No. 1,523 in captivity for his brother.
The only Americans held in Lebanon longer are Terry Anderson, chief Middle East correspondent of The Associated Press, and Thomas Sutherland, acting dean of agriculture at the American University of Beirut. Anderson’s father and elder brother have died since he was taken hostage March 16, 1985. Sutherland was kidnapped June 9, 1985.