The parents of Kayla Mueller, the last known American hostage held by Islamic State, have confirmed her death in a statement today, days after airstrikes in Syria were rumored to have killed the 26-year-old.
“We are heartbroken to share that we’ve received confirmation that Kayla Jean Mueller, has lost her life,” the statement from parents Carl and Marsha Mueller, and her brother Eric, said today.
“Kayla was a compassionate and devoted humanitarian. She dedicated the whole of her young life to helping those in need of freedom, justice, and peace,” the family said.
News that the airstrikes near the town of Raqqa had killed Mueller — an aid worker from Prescott, Arizona — initially surfaced on Friday through social media accounts affiliated with the militant group. Reports circulating at the time purported that Jordanian bombs had hit the building where she was being detained. The Muellers’ statement does not provide further details about their daughter’s death, or how they were informed she is dead.
In a statement on Tuesday, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel extended his condolences to Mueller’s family, who he said was killed while IS, also referred to as ISIS and ISIL, held her hostage.