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

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Louis Zamperini , Inspiration for film 'Unbroken,' dies at 97
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 20: Louis Zamperini presents an award at the 2011 Golden Goggles at JW Marriott Los Angeles at L.A. LIVE on November 20, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noel Vasquez/Getty Images for USA Swimming)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 16: Inspirational speaker Louis Zamperini attends the Winforever Always Compete Speaker Series With Seattle Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll And American Hero Louis Zamperini at The GRAMMY Museum on June 16, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO -- Episode 4265 -- Pictured: (l-r) Musical guest Bret Michaels, actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, 95 year old war hero Louis Zamperini and host Jay Leno on June 7, 2012 -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO -- Episode 4265 -- Pictured: (l-r) 95 year old war hero Louis Zamperini during an interview with host Jay Leno on June 7, 2012 -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO -- Episode 4265 -- Pictured: 95 year old war hero Louis Zamperini during an interview on June 7, 2012 -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO -- Episode 4265 -- Pictured: (l-r) Actress Catherine Zeta-Jones and 95 year old war hero Louis Zamperini during an interview on June 7, 2012 -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Louis Zamperini (right) poses with former USC alumnus Payton Jordan, 1960 U.S. Olympic track and field coach, during dedication ceremony of Louis Zamperini Plaza on Saturday, Feb. 21, 2004. (Photo by Kirby Lee/WireImage)
Louis Zamperini during dedication ceremony of plaza in his name at USC track stadium. The 87-year-old Zamperini was the top American finisher in the 5,000 meters in the 1936 Olympics and two-time NCAA mile champion at USC. During World War II, he spent 47 days on a life raft after being shot down as an Army bombardier and then taken as a prisoner of war by Japanese for more than two years. (Photo by Kirby Lee/WireImage)
Louis Zamperini gestures during a news conference Friday May 9, 2014 in Pasadena, Calif. Ninety-seven-year-old World War II hero and former Olympian, Zamperini has been named grand marshal of the 2015 Rose Parade.(AP Photo/Nick Ut)
Louis Zamperini gestures during a news conference Friday May 9, 2014 in Pasadena, Calif. Ninety-seven-year-old World War II hero and former Olympian, Zamperini has been named grand marshal of the 2015 Rose Parade.(AP Photo/Nick Ut)
Brig. Gen. Isaiah Davics, commanding general at Midland, Tex., Army Flying School, pins a pair of silver bombardier wings Lieutenant Lou Zamperini on August 14, 1942. In 1936 Zamperini, international track star, while in Berlin for the Olympic Games as Uncle Sam’s ace miler, yanked down a Nazi swastika right in front of Hilter’s Palace. (AP Photo)
Louis Zamperini, former USC athletic star now a bombardier in the Army Airforce, peers out of hatch nose of bomber on Jan. 1, 1943. Zamperini was bombardier of one of the planes in recent raid on Jap-held Wake Island. (AP Photo/Jack Rice)
FILE - In this Oct. 3, 1945 file photo, Capt. Louis Zamperini, right, of Torrance, Calif., and Capt. Fred Garrett of Riverside, Calif., arrive at Hamilton Air Field, later Hamilton Air Force Base, in Novato, Calif. Zamperini, the former track star who was adrift 47 days in the Pacific after an Army Air Force bombing mission against the Japanese in the Pacific, and had been presumed dead, was named Grand Marshal of the 126th Tournament of Roses in ceremonies Friday, May 9, 2014, in Pasadena, Calif. (AP Photo, File)
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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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