"The Syrian people have given me so much, so much kindness, inspiration and everything they have. If the Syrian people are suffering now, I want to share their pain and their difficulties," the Jesuit priest, known as Father Fran, told AFP in February.
The Syrian government has besieged much of Homs for nearly two years, shelling rebel-held areas and causing a rising humanitarian crisis. The U.N. evacuated 1,500 people in February — but the priest refused to leave his monastery and the Homsi people.
Jan Stuyt, secretary of the Dutch Jesuit Order, confirmed Van Der Lugt's death. "A man came into his house, took him outside and shot him twice in the head," Stuyt told AFP. The motive and identity of the gunman remains unknown.
Van Der Lugt moved to Syria in 1966 and made it home. "I don't see people as Muslims or Christian, I see a human being first and foremost," he told AFP in February. The Vatican released a statement expressing "great pain" and calling him "a man of peace."
Former BuzzFeed World Reporter, Current BuzzFeed News Contributor