The family of Kayla Mueller has confirmed that the 26 year old humanitarian is dead after 17 months in captivity.
"We are heartbroken to share that we've received confirmation that Kayla Jean Mueller has lost her life," a statement from the family reads. "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."
Mueller was taken hostage by ISIS in August 2013, outside of a Doctors Without Borders hospital in northern Syria. After graduating college in 2009, she worked with humanitarian groups in Israel, Palestinian territories, France, and then in Syria, helping families who were forced to leave their homes because of the war.
In May 2014, ISIS contacted the Mueller family with proof that she was alive. They asked for $7 million by August 13, which was never paid. Last Friday, ISIS claimed Mueller had been killed during a Jordanian airstrike on ISIS headquarters in Raqqa. Over the weekend, they sent a private message to the Mueller family, proving her death. It is still unknown how she died.
President Obama released a statement after hearing of Kayla's death.
"Kayla's compassion and dedication to assisting those in need shows us that even amongst unconscionable evil, the essential decency of humanity can live on," the statement read.
On Tuesday, the Mueller family released a handwritten letter that Kayla wrote while in captivity in the Spring of 2014.
"It's hard to know what to say," the letter reads. "Please know that I am in a safe location, completely unharmed + healthy (put on weight in fact); I have been treated w/the utmost respect + kindness."
"I will never ask you to forgive me as I do not deserve forgiveness," Kayla wrote.
“I have come to see that there is good in every situation, sometimes we just have to look for it,” she added.
Kayla Mueller is the fourth American to be captured and killed by ISIS.