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Louis Zamperini , Inspiration for film 'Unbroken,' dies at 97

Louis Zamperini, an American prisoner of war in World War Two and Olympic runner whose life inspired the book and upcoming feature film "Unbroken," has died at age 97, Variety reported on Thursday.

Zamperini died after a 40-day bout with pneumonia, his family said in a statement, according to Variety.

'Unbroken' Olympian And WWII POW Louis Zamperini Dies At 97

Angelina Jolie, who directed the upcoming film based on the 2010 book by Laura Hillenbrand, expressed her sadness on Twitter about Zamperini's death.

"It is a loss impossible to describe," Jolie said. "We are all so grateful for how enriched our lives are for having known him. We will miss him terribly."

Zamperini survived weeks on an inflatable raft and two years in captivity in Japan after his plane was shot down during World War Two.

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johannaripper July 03 2014 at 10:15 AM

Unbroken should be required reading in school! Today;s youth have no idea the price paid for the freedoms they enjoy today. This was a true HERO! May he rest in PEACE!!!

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4 replies
PamieJune July 03 2014 at 9:55 AM

"Unbroken" should be on everyone's to-read list - it's an amazing story and a unforgiving look at the way our POWs were treated during WWII. Louis was a remarkable man who survived the un-survivable and went on to be an even more amazing man who didn't let his past define his present. Condolences to his family and friends.

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2 replies
Kate PamieJune July 03 2014 at 12:26 PM

While I definitely agree about the condolences to his family, and know quite well that some of our POWs went through hell and back during WWII, I'd like to remind you that we were causing hell too, back home, for American citizens. Forgotten the internment camps?

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3 replies
plowboy611 PamieJune July 03 2014 at 1:04 PM

Kate. The US internment camps were a FAR cry from what these men endured from the Japanese. That's not even close. WE didn't torture, starve or beat them.

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1 reply
Sandra plowboy611 July 03 2014 at 6:40 PM

Kate: You have no idea the tortures the American POW's endured at the hand of the Japanese. I know from my father who was dropped over Okinawa (US Army Paratrooper). They were absolutely brutal to captures, while the camps here for the Japanese would be considered "at least The Holiday Inn". No offense, but you are clueless.

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Steve-a-rino July 03 2014 at 9:38 AM

Today's 10-cent sports heroes should be ashamed of themselves for pretending to be what this guy was. Want to be a hero? Do something heroic!

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2 replies
fb723 Steve-a-rino July 03 2014 at 9:54 AM

If he could slam dunk a BB or HIT a BASEBALL, the KIDS today would take an interest. Blame it on the Media that hypes these guys for the ADVERTISERS and RATINGS

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ranger197172 Steve-a-rino July 03 2014 at 10:49 AM

True heroes don't want to be heros, they just do what they have to for love of country.

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tckctc July 03 2014 at 9:36 AM

The book is excellent. I hope the movie does the true story justice. Remarkable and inspirational man. RIP, Louis Zamperini.

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rashbr1305 July 03 2014 at 9:41 AM

This man was a true hero!

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mrfitman July 03 2014 at 10:35 AM

A TRUE Hero, one could only want to LIVE FOREVER!!! Forever, in our HEARTS!!

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1 reply
Archangel28 mrfitman July 03 2014 at 11:37 AM

If only his spirit could be reborn in the younger generation of today.

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1 reply
jmason7708 Archangel28 July 03 2014 at 9:35 PM

look around we have pleanty of great kids coming up my son will start Norwich (private military college) my granddaughter just enlisted in the Navy ,my sons friend is going to the air force acd. and another has enlisted in the airforce lots of smart dedicated kids out there

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BLONDIE & GRUMPY July 03 2014 at 11:06 AM

Hey, Hagel, this is what a "Real" prisoner of war is... not the phoney Bowie Berghdal, who deserted his post and caused the deaths of Six (6) of the men in his unit...

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4 replies
Kay July 03 2014 at 9:37 AM

So what was the job he was going to have in 2015 as stated in the headline on AOL?

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7 replies
billcdaly July 03 2014 at 9:48 AM

RIP hero.

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jtrottahcc July 03 2014 at 11:16 AM

I love my country and will always be an American 1st but I am very proud of my Italian Heritage.
People like Louis Zamperini boost my pride in the roots of my ancestors.
It's unfortunate that people of Italian heritage are only viewed as Gangsters and members of the Mafia.
Louis breaks that stereo type proving that this image is not conducive to every Italian or Italian/American's background.
I not only hope non-Italians see this but people of Italian heritage as well.
Don't promote the "Godfather" and "Soprano's!!!
Promote people like Louis Zamperini. They truly represent our culture and contribution to the world we live in today.

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