BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:00 P.M.) – The founder of the White Helmets, James Le Mesurier, was found dead in Istanbul on Monday, the Reuters News Agency reported.
Citing a law enforcement source, the Reuters report said Le Mesurier was found dead outside of his home, but it remains “unclear whether he was murdered, or committed suicide.”
The White Helmets’ official Twitter account has confirmed Le Mesurier’s passing, saying the group was ‘shocked and saddened’ by the news and expressing its “deepest condolences to the James family.” The group commended him for his “humanitarian efforts which Syrians will always remember.”
Earlier, an anonymous diplomat was quoted by Reuters as saying that Le Mesurier’s body had been found early Monday morning at his home in the city’s Beyoglu district.
Sözcü, a major Turkish daily newspaper, reported, citing police sources, that Le Mesurier may have killed himself, and that he had been taking anti-depressant medication for some time ahead of Monday’s incident.
Sabah, another major Turkish paper, also reported, citing law enforcement, that police consider suicide the most likely cause of Le Mesurier’s death, with the former spy possibly jumping to his death from the balcony of his 3rd floor apartment. No traces of gunshot or knife wounds were found his body, police told Sabah.
Le Mesurier’s wife was quoted by Sabah as saying that she and her husband had dinner together on Sunday. “After that we took sleeping pills and went to bed. A few hours later I woke up from the ringing of our doorbell. It was the police. They told me that my husband had fallen from the balcony and died.”