American Journalist Steven Sotloff Executed by ISIS 'Gave His Life' to Report on War, Bring Justice to Middle East

( [email protected] ) Sep 04, 2014 06:59 PM EDT
Steven Sotloff
Hundreds of students at the University of Central Florida held lit candles during a candlelight vigil in his memory on Wednesday night in Orlando, Florida. (EPA)

The family of Steven Sotloff, an American journalist who was beheaded in a video released by terror group ISIS earlier this week, recently spoke out about his death, saying he was "no hero" but a man who tried to find good in the world, and ultimately sacrificed his life to bring to light the stories of suffering and persecution in the Middle East.

"He was no war junkie. He did not want to be a modern-day Lawrence of Arabia. He merely wanted to give voice to those who had none," the family revealed in a statement through a spokesman.

"From the Libyan doctor in Misrata who struggled to provide psychological services to children ravaged by war, to the Syrian plumber who risked his life by crossing regime lines to purchase medicine, their story was Steve's story," the statement continued.

"He ultimately sacrificed his life to bring their story to the world."

Sotloff is the second American journalist to be killed by ISIS, as James Foley was beheaded while working in Syria several weeks ago.

The American government has condemned the killings by ISIS, which has threatened the U.S. to stay out of Iraq and discontinue airstrikes against ISIS. The terrorist group has said that gruesome beheadings are a warning to President Barack Obama to heed their demands.

The Obama administration has said that while it is "sickened" by ISIS' actions, the U.S. will not be intimidated by the terror group.

"Those who make the mistake of harming Americans will learn that we will not forget ... that our reach is long and that justice will be served," Obama said on Wednesday.

"Our objective is clear. That is to degrade and destroy (ISIS) so it's no longer a threat," he added about the White House's strategy. "We can accomplish that. It's going to take some time, it's going to take some effort."

Vice President Joe Biden also stated that those who have committed atrocities against US citizens will be pursued "to the gates of hell."

Sotloff's family stated that the journalist was a "mere man who tried to find good concealed in a world of darkness. And if it did not exist, he tried to create it."

"He always sought to help those less privileged than himself, offering career services and precious contacts to newcomers in the region," the statement continued.

"Steve would often say his job was to hold people's hands to build rapport before delving into the story. He never rushed or was pressured. He was appreciated by all who met him for his sincerity and kindness."

The family stated that Sotloff's spirit "will endure in our hearts," and sent their prayers to the family of Foley.

"Like Steve, he suffered. But his jailers never broke him, and he was an inspiration for others in that dark prison far from this country's freedoms," they concluded.