Remembering NPR photographer David Gilkey

(CNN)Photojournalist David Gilkey was killed in Afghanistan on Sunday after a rocket-propelled grenade hit his armored Humvee. Also killed were his NPR colleague, interpreter Zabihullah Tamanna, and an Afghan soldier driving the Humvee.

Colleagues remembered Gilkey, 50, as someone who worked tirelessly in the world's most difficult places. His images were not always easy to look at -- from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan to hungry and terrorized Sudanese in Darfur. But few could turn away from Gilkey's photography.
Photographer David Gilkey
He drew his viewers in, putting them on the ground where his subjects were to give them a better understanding of the situation. He captured the essence of places through people, many of them in forgotten lands.
    As NPR's David Greene said in a tweet Monday: Gilkey "could capture someone's soul in a portrait."
    Gilkey won many well-deserved accolades, including the George Polk Award.
    I first met Gilkey in Iraq. At first he seemed like many of the war-hardened soldiers I had met there. Brusque. Harsh, even. But later when I knew him better, I understood he was the opposite.
    "I know people in the newsroom called him 'Smiley' because he never smiled; he was really gruff," said Gilkey's colleague Tom Bowman, who was on assignment with him in Afghanistan. "But he was a real sensitive soul and he was a real, complete artist. His pictures were absolutely beautiful, and the ones he recently took on a mission we went on were just unbelievable."
    Gilkey showed his true self in his pictures, which can be seen in the gallery above.