SYDNEY, May 13, 2007 (AFP) – Through wars, disasters and coups, foreign correspondent Kate Webb chronicled the turbulent birth of modern Asia, becoming a media legend who had the eerie experience of reading her own obituary.
Webb, who died of cancer on Sunday at 64, covered many of Asia’s seminal events of the last four decades with a keen eye for the real story and a rare empathy for the innocent victims of history.
In 1971, she became caught up in the turbulence herself when she was ambushed and taken prisoner by North Vietnamese troops in Cambodia.
She and five others were marched through the jungle in a 23-day ordeal during which she was reported killed, earning a front-page obituary in the New York Times.
“It was strange and embarrassing to see that,” said the soft-spoken Webb shortly before her death in Australia, her adopted homeland where she launched her journalism career in the early 1960s and retired nearly 40 years later.
She and the other captives were freed just as her family held a memorial service for her in Sydney. The body of a young woman, found near the spot where she vanished during a firefight, had been wrongly identified as hers.
“It caused a bit of a stir at home,” Webb r