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Who was Gadi Haggai, the American hostage believed to have died at the hands of Hamas?

President Biden said he was "heartbroken" by reports indicating the death of the 73-year-old American who was kidnapped on October 7 while in Kibbutz Nir Oz.

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(Cordon Press)

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"A musician at heart and a gifted flutist who has engaged in music all his life. He is an amazing cook and has a good sense of humor." This is how the voluntary forum Bring Them Home Now, formed by relatives of hostages kidnapped by Hamas, describes Gadi Haggai. The 73-year-old American appears on the list of those kidnapped during the October 7 attacks. This Friday, the group confirmed that Haggai died in captivity, and they still have his body.

"On the morning of October 7th, he and his wife Judih went out for their regular morning walk in the fields and vineyards of the kibbutz," according to the publication where Bring Them Home Now announced the death. "Judih managed to notify friends that they had been shot and that Gadi was critically injured - it was the last contact with them."

Haggai was a resident of Kibbutz Nir Oz, which was the first to report his death, according to The Times of Israel. The Israeli media also clarified that the statement issued by the kibbutz does not detail how confirmation was obtained that the first American hostage had died in Gaza. It is also unclear whether he died during the October 7 attacks, although a press release issued by President Biden seems to support the versions that maintain he did. "Jill and I are heartbroken by the news that American Gadi Haggai is now believed to have been killed by Hamas on October 7."

The president also dedicated a few words to Haggai's wife, Judi Weinstein, 70 years old and also an American, who remains in the hands of Hamas. "We continue to pray for the well-being and safe return of his wife, Judy."

"Haggai was a retired chef and jazz musician," said Ted Deutch, the CEO of the American Jewish Committee. He also stated that he had four children and seven grandchildren. "Both Gadi and Judith considered themselves pacifists and were committed peace activists," said Arsen Ostrovsky, lawyer and CEO of The International Legal Forum. "Hamas of course couldn't care less."