July 3, 2014 / 12:55 PM / 3 years ago

CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-U.S. war hero Louis Zamperini, inspiration for 'Unbroken,' dead at 97 -Variety

(corrects ‘shot down’ to ‘crashed’ and ‘Japan’ to ‘Japanese’ in paragraph 5)

July 3 (Reuters) - Louis Zamperini, an American prisoner of war in World War Two and Olympic runner whose life inspired the book and upcoming feature film “Unbroken,” has died at age 97, Variety reported on Thursday.

Zamperini died after a 40-day bout with pneumonia, his family said in a statement, according to Variety.

Angelina Jolie, who directed the upcoming film based on the 2010 book by Laura Hillenbrand, expressed her sadness on Twitter about Zamperini’s death.

“It is a loss impossible to describe,” Jolie said. “We are all so grateful for how enriched our lives are for having known him. We will miss him terribly.”

Zamperini survived weeks on an inflatable raft and two years in captivity by the Japanese after his plane crashed during World War Two. (Reporting by Jonathan Kaminsky in New Orleans; Editing by Colleen Jenkins, Susan Heavey and Eric Beech)

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